What’s Doing in Copenhagen

By Karin Sun on 13 May 2014
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In a world where London, Paris, and Rome rule the European tourism landscape, the Danish city of Copenhagen is a hidden gem infrequently explored by travelers. København, which means “merchant’s harbor” in old Danish, is a picturesque, nautical location straddling the islands of Zealand and Amager. The city has numerous canals running through it and borders the Øresund strait on its eastern side.

Two aspects of Copenhagen that will strike visitors right away are its aesthetics and history. From its numerous art galleries and design museums to the street murals of the Christiania neighborhood, Copenhagen is a city that exists in an artistic atmosphere., Its splendid palaces, ornate churches, and quaint, colorful houses, make the city particularly appealing to those who enjoy visually striking architecture.

This Scandinavian city is also known for its rich history, which it has carefully preserved in its museums and landmarks. Copenhagen first came into existence as a Viking fishing village in the 10th century, and was officially founded in the 12th century when Bishop Absalon built a fortress at the modern site of the Christiansborg Palace to defend the area against pirate attacks.  It became Denmark’s capital in the early 15th century.


Since its founding, Copenhagen has been well-known as the site of several military sieges throughout history, the most famous of which include the Swedish assault in 1659 during the Second Northern War, and the British bombardments in 1807 during the Napoleonic Wars, when the city was almost destroyed. This longstanding tradition of having to defend itself against invaders is apparent in many of the military relics scattered throughout the city.

As you stroll through the streets of Copenhagen, you will discover many landmarks that exhibit both a unique architectural design and a rich, storied past.


The Rundetaarn, or Round Tower, is a good place to start. The tower is a cylindrical brick structure located in the center of the city. It was erected as an astronomical observatory in the 17th century under the reign of Christian IV, and is attached to the Trinitatis Church complex. It features a spiral ramp, a small, domed observatory on the roof, and an observation deck with an iron lattice designed by Kaspar Fincke in 1643. Located above the church and accessible by the tower’s spiral ramp are the Library Hall, a venue for concerts and exhibitions, and the Bell-Ringers Loft, which contains a small display of historical artifacts including a wax seal belonging to Christian IV and a piece of the bomb that was dropped on the Library Hall during the bombardment of Copenhagen in 1807.

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