Copenhagen is one of the oldest capitals in Europe.
Copenhagen is not only the center of Danish dynamic life, but also the seat of the world’s oldest monarchy. The presence of the Danish royal family puts the city into even a more exciting stress.
The population of the city is 1,213,822 (as of 2012). The first mention about Copenhagen was in the 11th century, while it obtained the status of the capital city of the country in the 15th century.
Today it is considered the business center of the country, offering a high quality of life and eco-friendly environment.
The Black Diamond
The story of the library goes back to King Frederik III. He has been an exceptional reader, with four private libraries to satisfy his reading needs. They functioned as royal private libraries starting from 1648 and were opened to public only in 1793.
If you are a real bookworm, the Royal Library is a must-see destination for you. The book collection of the library is placed in four sections, the most remarkable one of which is the Black Diamond.
The Black Diamond is the new section of the Royal Library the idea of which belongs to Queen Margrethe. It was unveiled in 1999 and is covered with Absolute Black granite from Zimbabwe.
The section is located right at the Copenhagen harbor and creates a spectacular scene. It’s absolutely stunning to see the contrast of blue water and black square building.
If anyone ever asks you what Denmark is full of, the answer should come without hesitation. Castles and palaces. It’s absolutely understandable, as Danes take care of their royalties very well.
And really, in a century where there is a deadly shortage of princes, the Danish royal family must be kept as a rare pearl. After all, the royal heritage of the country is one of the major themes of tourist tours.
Today the most important Danish palace is the Amalienborg Palace, as it’s the official residence of Her Majesty the Queen Margrethe, Prince Henrik and their son and crown prince Frederik.
Amalienborg Palace is a luxurious palace, as it consists of not one, but four buildings. These buildings date back to the 18th century during Frederik V’s reign. Four noble countries built those four buildings, as King Frederik was a little too economical and didn’t want to spend his money on a new castle.
In return for this awesome gift, those families were freed from taxes. A fair bargain.
If you decide to visit the castle, there could be no better time then noon. For tourists from countries with no monarchs, the Changing of Guards will be a unique experience. Be careful, if there is no flag flying on the palace.
Vor Frelsers Kirke
The church is closely connected to King Christian V. He is famous among Danish kings and queens in a few ways, and one of them is the fact that he was the first Danish monarch that enjoyed absolute powers.
The most spectacular component of the church is the golden staircase, which curls around the church-tower and culminates in a golden globe with a statue on the top.
The tower is not only an exterior design but also a platform to view the Danish capital in all its beauty. The view includes the whole city and the Danish – Swedish Øresund bridge, which is the link between two countries. The experience is guaranteed to be unforgettable after you reach the top, having climbed 400 stairs.
Talking about the interior design of the church, it’s worth mentioning that some ideas, particularly those used on the ceiling, belonged to king Christian V himself. In a word, Vor Frelsers Kirke is the reflection of monarchs’ taste and tendencies.
The Marble Church
The Marble Church has been the outcome of another famous Danish King’s orders.
This time it’s king Frederik V. He ordered to built the church, the inspiration of which was the Greek Pantheon.
The Marble Church was considered an unseen luxury then. This was the reason that the building of this church was extremely prolonged.
The absence of satisfactory financial needs caused the construction to be shut down for a number of times. Sometimes it was stopped temporarily, in other time the construction was thought to be ended once and for all.
Only in 1874 Mr. C.F. Tietgen financed the construction and the church, the marble for which was imported from Norway, was finally ready for visitors.
The Copenhagen Cathedral, also known as Our Lady’s Church, is one of the biggest cathedrals in Denmark. Its construction took around 20 years, starting from 1810 and ending in 1829.
These were the dates of the building, which you can see today, but there is a more interesting story about the church.
Something obviously was wrong either with the place or the way of construction, as fire destroyed the church every time it was rebuilt, each time with new beauty.
The first construction took place in the 13th century, when today’s magnificent cathedral was a simple church, small and modest.
The church can house more than a thousand visitors, which makes this a great venue for major events. One of such events was the wedding of Frederik and Mary Donaldson. It took place in 2004 and naturally gained a nationwide audience, as princes have become rear lately.
The New Carlsberg Glyptotek
The New Carlsberg Glyptotek is one of the best among Copenhagen museums. Art-lovers will particularly like this institution that houses art from some of the richest periods in history.
A brewer named Carl Jacobsen from Carlsberg is a key figure in the history of the museum. Besides the enormous amount of money provided by the state, Jacobsen donated his collection, which was so big it could be compared to some of the most popular museums in Denmark in the 19th century.
Jacobsen was a devoted collectioner, starting his “career” during a trip to Italy, a country which is home for some of the best masterpieces ever made in the history of art. Jacobsen’s first item was a portrait of a man, dating back to 540 BC.
Later in his life he collected objects belonging to ancient Egypt and Rome from periods of 3000 BC and 500 AD. The exhibitions are not limited only to ancient art, they also include works from the 18th and the 19th century art originated in Denmark and France. After assembling a respectable collection he donated it to the museum in 1888.
If you’re in the city on a Sunday, plan the visit on that day, as Sundays are free-admission days for the museums.
Besides ancient and modern art, the museum also has a book-store that will definitely leave even the pickiest reader happy.
The Little Mermaid
The most popular tourist destination and the symbol of Copenhagen is, of course, the Little Mermaid. The statue of a stone mermaid quietly resting on a rock is as wonderful as the story it is drawn from.
The author is the most famous Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen. The statue was, however, commissioned by Carl Jacobsen in 1909. The architect of this statue, Edvard Eriksen created the mermaid, her body resembling to his wife’s, while ballerina Ellen Price modeled for the head.
Once, many many years ago, the Øresund waters were full of the most attractive mythical creatures, mermaids. Øresund was even considered to be their home.
So after turning 15 the little mermaid, the youngest of the sea king’s daughters, is allowed to visit the surface. During her trip she encounters a prince, whom she saves from drowning and leaves on the beach.
A temple girl finds the prince, and the mermaid, sure for the prince’s safety leaves the surface. But she has fallen in love with the prince, moreover, she wants to be a human and have an eternal soul as they do.
She makes a deal with the witch, who promises her an eternal soul and a pair of human legs if she agrees to pay by her voice.
There is also a little trick, if the prince marries another woman, the little mermaid will turn into a sea foam. She agrees and leaves the sea only to find out the prince is in love with the temple girl, who happens to be a princess.
When the prince and the princess marry, the little mermaid is given a second chance: to kill the prince and go back to her mermaid life, or turn into foam.
The mermaid can’t make herself kill her beloved one, and throws herself into the sea, but instead of dying she becomes a daughter of air, promised to obtain an eternal life by saving children. The fairy tale is one of the best pieces of storytelling, and has been adapted in a number of films and animation movies.
- Status – the capital of Denmark since 15th century, seat of the royal family, the oldest European capital
- Population – is 1,213,822 (as of 2012)
- First mention – 11th century
- Attractions – the Black Diamond, Amalienborg Palace, Vor Frelsers Kirke, the Marble Church, Copenhagen Cathedral, the New Carlsberg Glyptotek, the Little Mermaid