HISTORY. First mentioned in 1043 under the name of Havn, after the building ofthe Slotsholmen fortress by Bishop Absalon of Roskilde (remains still visible under Christiansborg), the settlement rapidly developed into a considerable trading town. King Christopher of Bavaria made Copenhagen his capital and royal residence in 1445, and under the popular King Christian IV (1 588-1 648) the town acquired handsome new buildings and stronger fortifications. Its walls withstood attacks by the Swedes in 1 658 and 1659, by Anglo-Dutch and Swedish fleets in 1700 and by the British in 1 801 and 1809 (bombardment of Copenhagen), but were pulled down in the 19th c. and replaced by parks and gardens. Copenhagen University was founded in 1479.
Sightseeing in Copenhagen
The OLD TOWN of Copenhagen is traversed by a pedestrian precinct 1 8 km (a mile) long, Stroget, a series of streets extending from RSdhuspladsen (Town Hall Square) to Kongens Nytorv. A good starting point for a walk round the old town is Nytorv (not to be confused with Kongens Nytorv), in the middle of the pedestrian precinct. In this square are the former Law Courts, in neo-classical style. Going N from here by way of Gammel Torv and Norregade, we come to Vor Frue Kirke (Church of Our Lady). The present church is the sixth on this site, a neo-classical building designed by C. F. Hansen and built between 1 811 and 1 829 after the destruction of the previous church during the bombardment of Copenhagen in 1807. The church (two-storeyed, with a vaulted roof) contains numerous sculptures by Thorvaldsen his well-known figure of Christ behind the altar, the twelve Apostles along the walls, a font with a figure of a kneeling angel. The characteristic square tower, with a flat roof, is topped by a gleaming cross. To the N of the church, beyond Bispetorv, is the main building ofthe University, founded by Christian I in 1478 and reorganised in 1 537. The present building (1 831 6), in a style influenced by the Oxford and Cambridge colleges, shows a mingling of neo-classical, neo-Gothic and late Roman forms. In the entrance hall are mythological frescoes by Constantin Hansen. Adjoining the University building, to the right, is the old University Library. On the other side of Norregade stands St Peter’s Church, the oldest in Copenhagen (originally late Gothic; re-
Town Hall Square, Copenhagen stored 1 81 6), with a tower 78 m (255 ft) high (1756). Since 1586 St Peter’s has been the church of the German community in Copenhagen. Attractive herb garden, with graves.
From Norregade a number of narrow lanes lead into Fiolstreede, a parallel street with many bookshops and antique dealers. In Krystalgade is the Synagogue, built in yellow brick. Passing this we come into Kobmagergade (pedestrians only), a busy shopping street, with the Regensen (1623), a students’ residence with an attractive arcade. Opposite it is the Round Tower (Rundetarn), 36 m (120 ft) high and 15 m (50 ft) in diameter, which was built as an observatory and contains a small collection of material relating to the 1 6th c. Swedish astronomer Tycho Brahe. The platform on the top, from which there are magnificent views ofthe green roofs of Copenhagen, is reached on a wide spiral ramp 209 m (685 ft) long, up which Peter the Great rode in 1716 and the Empress Catherine later drove in a carriage. The tower is the one referred to in Hans Andersen’s tale, The Tinder-Box: eyes as big as the Round Tower. It is actually part of Trinity Church (1 656; roof turret of 1 728). To the S of the Round Tower, by way of Skindergade and Kejsergade, is GrS-brodretorv (Greyfriars’ Square), one of