We start at Tivoli Gardens, the old entertainment park with its many flowers, lights and oriental buildings, which opened in August 1843 to provide recreational facilities for the citizens of a then very crowded Copenhagen. Tivoli was built on the just disbanded Copenhagen fortifications, with the Tivoli lake being a former part of the city fortification moat.
Next to Tivoli Gardens is the Town Hall Square. The town hall was built in 1892-1905 and was designed by Architect Martin Nyrop, who was in part inspired by the town hall in Siena, Italy.
Copenhagen was founded in 1167 AD as Borg I Havn or Fortress In Harbor. The current name, København or Copenhagen, comes from Købmannehavn or Merchant's Harbor.
The statue in the golden rectangle at the top middle of the town hall is Bishop Absalon, the founder of Copenhagen. The Town Hall Square was the Copenhagen hay market until the city fortifications were dismantled in the 19th century. From it, Strøget, the main pedestrian street, leads Eastwards through the Medieval Town or Downtown Copenhagen to the Kongens Nytorv square at its other end. Strøget is the main shopping street in Copenhagen, with the big brand name shops located from Amagertorv to the Kongens Nytorv end.
A few hundred yards away, right in the middle of the oldest part of Copenhagen on the island Slotsholmen, lies Christiansborg Castle, home of the Danish parliament: Folketinget. Before the parliament moved in, Christiansborg was home to the Danish Royal Family, but after Christiansborg Castle burned down the second time the Royal Family had had enough and moved to Amalienborg Castle. Present day Christiansborg Castle is built right on top of the original medieval fortress by Bishop Absalon. The foundation of the fortress still exists under today's castle and can be visited on guided tours to the Christiansborg cellars.
Guide tip: The Christiansborg tower is currently covered up due to renovation works.
Behind Christiansborg, at the harbor, you find the new section of The Royal Library called "Den Sorte Diamant" or The Black Diamond. The Black Diamond was finished in 1999 and is covered in shiny black granite. It was a much needed addition to the library and because of its architecture helps give the Copenhagen harbor front its new cool look. There is a cafe and a restaurant in The Black Diamond which are both open to the general public.
The "Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek" as it is formally known, was started by the son of the man who founded the Carlsberg Brewery, Brewer Jacobsen. It was originally his private collection. In the last century, when Italian authorities were rather lax on the export of historic artifacts, he had a person employed in Rome, who every morning went around to the building sites and asked the foremen: "What have you found today?" And what he was able to buy is impressive, to say the least. Today Glyptoteket has also expanded into other fields - the Egyptian section is extensive, and you really should see the Renoir collection, as well as the collection of Danish paintings from the "Golden Age" in the 19th. century.
Rosenborg Castle, a few hundred meters East of Nørreport Station, started out as a tiny hunting castle for King Christian IV (ruled 1588 - 1648), and was built in 1606-17. However, it was expanded continuously until it became a castle. It was the favorite residence of King Christian IV, who demanded to spend his last days alive here, in February 1648. Today Rosenborg houses the Royal jewel collection in the vault in the basement, and both the vault and the interior of the castle itself are very much worth a visit.
Copyright © H.T. Ohlsen 1996-2009