Copenhagen, Denmark

July 5, 2011 at 01:32PM     Travel Copenhagen Denmark

The next stop on my Scandinavian tour was Copenhagen, Denmark's capital city.

Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen
All of the Scandinavian countries are still constitutional monarchies, so in each of the capital cities there are castles and palaces to visit. Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen is no longer used for royal functions but houses the Danish crown jewels and is a fine example of Renaissance architecture.
Golden toy soldiers
The crown in the vault was shiny (they wouldn't let me take it with me, sadly), but I thought the young prince's golden toy soldiers were the coolest thing in the collection: you wouldn't want to have to tell mom and dad that you lost one of those.

The Little Mermaid, Copenhagen
Copenhagen's most famous historical figure is Hans Christian Andersen, and they do not hesitate to celebrate that. In the harbour is a statue of the Little Mermaid. I haven't fully read the original version of The Little Mermaid; while they all live happily ever after, they don't all live happily ever after together, as in the Disney version.

Nyhavn (New Harbour), Copenhagen
Lego version of Nyhavn
Next stop on my walking tour was Nyhavn (also called New Harbour; one thing I've learned on my trip is that English and the various Scandinavian languages are all Germanic languages and thus have some similarities; "havn" in Danish is "harbour" in English, which, literally, is a haven for ships). I appreciated the Lego version of Nyhavn on display at the nearby Lego store.

Fountain of Charity in Gammeltorv
Another stop on Rick Steves' walking tour was Gammeltorv square. The highlight of the square is this water fountain. Had the book not pointed it out to me, I would not have noticed, but take a look at where the various streams of water are coming from. In the Victorian era they decided this fountain was too scandalous, so they stopped the water coming from the naughty bits and elevated the fountain so no one could see, but now it's been restored to its original state.

State chamber, Christiansborg Palace
Christiansborg Palace is still an active government building. The second Christiansborg Palace burnt down in the late 1800s, so they rebuilt it in the early 1900s, and now it houses the Danish parliament, prime minister's office, supreme court, and royal reception rooms.

Next door to the Palace is the fantastic Thorvaldsen Museum. Bertel Thorvaldsen was Denmark's most famous sculptor, who worked in the first half of the 19th century. I did not know of him before visiting Copenhagen, but I'm very impressed with his work. So were others, apparently: his tomb monument of Pope Pius VII is the only work by a non-Italian inside St. Peter's Basilica, for example.

See the rest of my pictures from Copenhagen in my Scandinavia gallery.