Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Copenhagen, Denmark

København is Denmark's capital city.  With a population of 1.2 million it is also the country's largest city.  Copenhagen actually sits on the islands of Zealand and Amager. 

The city is very flat which is why bicycles are so popular here.  It also makes it very easy to cover most of the city in a day by foot.

The Tivoli Gardens is an amusement park in the center of the city.  Among its attractions are the world's oldest Ferris wheel and roller coaster still in operation.  The park opened in 1843.  Unfortunately, it was still closed for winter.  I guess my excuse for a return visit to Copenhagen will be that I need to check out Tivoli.

The city's most popular icon is "The Little Mermaid", based on the story by native author Hans Christian Andersen.  OK, so how big should the little mermaid be?  I wasn't expecting the sculpture to be quite so small.
Statue of Hans Christian Andersen
Rundetårn, the Round Tower, is a 17th-century tower that was originally built as an astronomical observatory.  Now it's just a nice high tower that affords a good view of the city.

Børsen is the old stock exchange that was built from 1619-1640.  The building is known for its spire which is made up of four entwined dragon tails.

Christiana is a self-proclaimed free town of 850 residents.  

To me, Nyhavn is what I picture when I think of Denmark.  Nyhavn is a waterfront district that is lined with brightly colored 17th and 18th century buildings.

Now the street is home to many cafes, bars and restaurants and there are plenty of boats to look at in the water.

Amalienborg Palace is the royal family's winter home.  It's made up of four palaces around a courtyard.  There's a statue of King Frederick V in the center.

Frederick's Church, sometimes called the Marble Church, is just north of Amalienborg.  Construction began in 1749 and it finally opened in 1894.  It has the largest church dome in Scandinavia.  It's possible to climb all the way up to the top for some great views of the city.  Of course, not so great if you don't like heights.

The Gefion Fountain is the city's largest monument.  According to legend, a Swedish king promised the Norse goddess Gefion that she could keep all of the land she could plow in 24 hours.  So Gefion turned her four sons into oxen and the land that they plowed was thrown out in to the Danish sea.  The land became Zealand which is home to Copenhagen. 

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