The Citadel, The Little Mermaid and The Palace

Trip Start Aug 25, 2007
Trip End Dec 20, 2007

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

I was unwillingly taken to all of these sites on my 3rd day in Copenhagen.  I was annoyed, jet lagged, and was tricked in to going by the stupid orientation program.  I protested by not paying any attention or taking any pictures.  This time I went back and actually enjoyed it since we weren't dragged around by a stupid old man more interested in his family's life story than the actual sites.

Anyways, the citadel is an earthen fortification.  It's shaped kind of like a star with a total of five sides. 

There's two entrances which basically used to be the city gates of Copenhagen.  The area isn't big but used to contain all of Copenhagen when it was more of a fortress city.  It was also the last defense of the city in case the crazy Swedes came in and tried to take over.  I'm pretty sure at one point they were actually driven all the way within the walls of this.

Today, you can just walk right in.  People go jogging on top of the rampart walls as there's a walking path.  Some people jog right through.  The weird thing is, it's still completely functional.  It holds all the offices for Denmark that the Pentagon does in the US and the headquarters for their version of the CIA.  You might see a soldier or two walking around, but they aren't actually guarding the area.  Forbidden areas are marked with small bilingual signs. 

The Danes are actually very proud of their open government.  It's less shady and secretive if you can just walk right in.   The Citadel is right next to the harbor area. 

If you enlarge it and look really closely to the island beyond the boats, you'll notice the windmills.  They are white and don't photograph well.  Denmark produces a lot of it's energy through windpower and you can see these windmills all over the country.  The land  that they are on is also home to the waste plant where all trash is taken.  All trash is burned in a way that doesn't pollute the air and eliminates the need for garbage dumps.

The harbor area is also where Copenhagen's biggest tourist attraction is...all three feet of her. 

It depicts the litte mermaid from Hans Christian Andersen's (ya know, every Dane's favorite guy EVER) fairytale.  This is the moment when her fins are turning into legs.  Remember, this is a sad moment...because she leaves her whole family and there's no happy Disney ending.  She doesn't find true love and she dies!

It's not really the most exciting statue ever but there's always plenty of Japanese tourists around.  She's also been beheaded twice, her hair has been painted red, and she's been groped in appropriately more times than anyone can count.

Past the little mermaid, but on the same path, is a huge dramatic fountain. 

Then there's an English church and by English I don't mean just Anglican...though it is.  It looks absolutely nothing like a Danish church as it was built purely in the English style.

If you walk down the street a bit further, you come to Amalienborg (I think) Palace.  Yet again, you just kind of walk right up to it, disregarding the fact that royalty live there.  I mean, there is technically security but I doubt people take the poofy hatted guards very seriously.  They certainly aren't as well trained as the London ones as they visibly smirk when tourists come up to them.

The palace consists of a large square with four identical, large houses surrounding it. 

The king and queen live in one house.  When their sons and daughters are old enough, they move into the next house down.  Technically up to four generations can be housed this way.  Usually there are only three.  When the king and queen die, that house remains vacant until the family makes the circle to that one again.  In the mean time, they restore it.

However, one of these houses is not like the other.  Two of them have this weird little column addition.

They are supposedly constructed out of wood though they don't appear to be.  If you look at the top, there's enough space for a passageway between the two houses.  This was because one of the past kings (either a Christian or a Frederick, like they all are) was schitzophrenic.  His son used to have to run to him in the middle of the night when he was freaking out and having a fit.  Apparently they decided it was a bit undignified to see the future king running across the square in his robe and slippers to help his crazy dad.
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