Christianborg and Nyhavn

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Home Page > Travelogues > Denmark > Copenhagen > Christiansborg and Nyhavn

Other Chapters in the Copenhagen section:  Kastellet and Mermaid ] Radhuisplad and Rosenborg ] [ Christianborg and Nyhavn ]


Christiansborg and Nyhavn


The third and final chapter on Copenhagen concerns the government and royal district that follows along the canal toward the Kastellet.  It Christianborg Palaceincludes the city's most majestic structures -- massive palaces, gorgeous government buildings, and the much-loved and photographed inland harbor, the Nyhavn.  Because it was well away from the main shopping and tourism areas, I found myself pretty much alone wandering these areas, which was welcome after spending so much time around all the soccer fans.  But to casual visitors with a little extra time on their hands, I would recommend going out there.  It was fabulous to see.

The first photograph shows the front of the Christianborg Palace, my first stop after having left the Strget downtown.    It was the third iteration of the palace, most recently rebuilt in 1928 (see Note below).  The photograph only captures a small part of the structure, which was built in a U-shaped box much like Versailles in Paris or King Ludwig II's Herrenchiemsee in eastern Bavaria.  Unlike the others, however, the Christiansborg was very much in use, as the current seat of the Danish Parliament.  Consequently, it didn't retain much in the way of palace gardens and the like.  However, because it was a day off, I was allowed to walk through portions of the palace ordinarily available to the public, and indeed it was beautiful on the inside.  There was a small garden outside, but the utility of the structure clearly took precedence.

The next structure I visited was a block away -- the Danish Stock Exchange, shown in the second photograph.  Choosing the best shot for this structure was difficult.  This building was incredibly beautiful with so much sculpture and character all over.  The shape was akin to the triangular form of a market building, but as the photograph plainly shows, this was no ordinarily building.  However, the most striking part of the building was not visible in this shot.  That was the center tower -- a tall spike that was formed like four ropes wound around each other.  The top of the spike had small Danish flags hanging on tiny flagpoles.  I simply could not get it and the beautiful Neptune statue in the same shot.  I soon left the government district, passing a church and the Danish Royal Theater along the way.  The Theater was a particularly striking yellow brick structure with roman columns.   

Within a short distance, I found the Nyhavn, shown in the third photograph.  The Nyhavn (new harbor) was a short dead-end canal directly connected to the main river.  At roughly a half-mile long, the canal was quite large and full of old restored or replica ships docked along both sides.  The row houses were a rainbow of colors, and each one of them hosted a cafe, restaurant, or bar on the ground floor and a lot of them had umbrellas out on the sidewalk to provide thirty customers with some shade.

And oh, were there a lot of customers.  The Nyhavn was even more crowded than the Strget, and just about the whole crowd was part of the soccer craze.  A small stage was constructed off to the left where a DJ was playing rock music and the occasional Danish fight song.  Everyone was just having a good time, there was no rowdiness, but there sure were a heck of a lot of beer bottles all over the place!  Anyhow, I decided not to stick around too long.

The next stop on the tour was the royal winter residence, the Amalienborg Plads, shown in the fourth photograph.  This was truly a fanstastic complex with four nearly identical palaces occupying opposing ends of a large circle.  The statue in the photograph was in the center.  I approached the grounds through one of the archways in between the palaces.  There, I encountered one of the royal guards, decked out in a navy blue jacket with light blue pants, a white X belt across his chest (reminiscent of the British redcoats) and sporting one of those huge black poofy hats.  The palace museum were unfortunately not open to the public while I was there, so after a full tour of the circle, I continued on.

The next stop was the nearby Amaliehavn, the city's main passenger harbor.  On the way, I encountered a huge Romanesque church whose huge dome reminded me of the Capitol in Washington.  I then reached the entrance path toward the water, where I saw one of those odd modern sculptures around a fountain -- this of four pillars that appeared to have been rotting away.  Like most modern sculptures, I didn't understand it.  But, anyhow, I reached the waterfront, where I took a shot of a typical passenger vessel ready to head out to sea (see the fifth photograph).  I entered the passenger terminal and wandered around the public areas, getting a feel for where folks could go by boat.  I found that cruises were a popular mode of transportation.  It was from there that I returned the strand and moved toward the Kastellet.  In the surrounding area, there were other canals that hosted tour boats much like those in Bruges or Amsterdam.  They too were full of revelers enjoying the sunny day. 

Without question, the part of this tour that I would have loved to spend more time in was the Amalienborg Museum.  Even without the exhibits, royal palaces tended to be simply awesome to walk through.  Next would have been to see the Nyhavn with a typical easy-going crowd vice the densely packed soccer crowd (not that I minded the crowd).  Certainly, for the architecture and atmosphere, this part of Copenhagen was difficult to beat.

Other Chapters in the Copenhagen section:  Kastellet and Mermaid ] Radhuisplad and Rosenborg ] [ Christianborg and Nyhavn ]

Note:  Some information about the Christianborg Palace and other structures in this district from the Danish Ministry of Finanace website of the Castles and Properties Agency.

Trip taken 6-7 October 2001 -- Page Last Updated 13 September 2006 -- (C) 2001, 2006 Tom Galvin

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