May 30, 2015
A bit of a slow day today. My traditional Danish dinner last night turned into traditional Danish snaps (a shot you do while eating dinner), and then traditional Danish beer, which continued into a night of traditional Danish drinking. It was a very cultural experience.
When I finally willed myself out of the apartment I decided to do a little wandering, eventually making my way to Nyhavn. My first stop was to go through the Central Station, instead of around it. The Station is beautiful, with red brick and huge wooden arches. It was rush hour in the station so I didn’t take any pictures inside, maybe tomorrow if I plan the timing better, but the outside is just as beautiful – and this is the back entrance!Emerging from the NE exit of the building I passed Tivoli Gardens, an amusement park built in the centre of town in 1843, which I am hoping to visit tomorrow and continued on to the Rådhus (or City Hall). It was inaugurated in 1905 and was designed in the National Romantic style with intricate decorative details. Apparently you can do tours inside but everything was locked up when I was there, probably due to it being a Saturday evening.
Down the street from the Rådhus is the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, another stunning building built by Carl Jacobsen (of Carlsberg beer) as a home to his private art collection. The architecture here is so obviously different than Canada, more than I thought it would be. I mean, we have our own beautiful structures but the amount of historical buildings here, in such a small area is just wonderful. You can’t walk down the street with seeing something architecturally stunning.
Just a couple short blocks away from the Glyptotek is Christiansborg Slot (or Christiansborg Palace), again stunning. And huge.
I found the history behind the buildings really interesting so I am going to paraphrase from my friend Wikipedia. Christiansborg is the seat of the Danish Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Supreme Court. Several parts of the palace are also used by the monarchy, including the Royal Reception Rooms, the Palace Chapel and the Royal Stables. Thus, the palace houses three of Denmark’s supreme powers: the executive power, the legislative power, and the judicial power. It is the only building in the world that houses all three of a country’s branches of government.
The present building, the third to be built on the site, is the last in a series of successive castles and palaces constructed on the same site since the erection of the first castle in 1167. Since the early fifteenth century, the various buildings have served as the base of the central administration; until 1794 as the principal residence of the Danish kings and after 1849 as the seat of parliament.
The palace today bears witness to three eras of Danish architecture, as the result of two serious fires. The first fire occurred in 1794 and the second in 1884. See? Super interesting!
The last stop (and ultimate goal) of my solo walking tour was to visit Nyhavn, the picturesque waterfront district you see on all the postcards and guidebooks for Copenhagen. It’s a tiny strip of canal front property that mostly houses bars and restaurants on land and historical wooden ships in the water.
It’s a very cute area, brightly painted houses and lots of places to grab a drink – for a price. Architecturally I found it quite different than what I’ve seen in the rest of the city and maybe that’s part of it’s appeal. You can hop on a boat for a tour of the canals but I was there a little late in the day and there weren’t any more running. My favourite part of the history of this area was about it’s darker past as a haven for prostitution in the 1600s and that Hans Christian Anderson lived in the area for 18 years…though I’m not sure if those two elements ever crossed paths.