Monday, January 18, 2016

Copenhagen - Stroget Street, Kongens Nytorv & Nyhavn

Date of visit: 15th October 2015

Anne and I spent the short break given by Jacob by exploring the area where the Anchor (World War II monument) and a famous Nyhavn are located. Due to ongoing underground MRT construction, the hoarding has been beautifully painted with some arts and at this place too, I was sharing the banana crepes with the pigeons with a sense of owning the square just to myself. I combine a background story of the King’s Square and Nyhavn as 1 entry as we had quite a lengthy places covered in the city, thanks to our participation in the “Free Tour” programme.

Old kiosk & telephone stand built in 1919 in Baroque style, a land mark of Kongens Nytorv

Stroget Street is a very famous street in Copenhagen as it leads to numerous attractions of the city, starting from City Hall and end up at Kongens Nytorv. Whilst, Kongens Nytorv means "The King's New Square" is a famous public square which become famous for people’s meeting point. It is centrally located at the end of the pedestrian street Stroget. It is the largest square of the city, laid out by Christian V in 1670 in connection with a major extension of the fortified city, and has an equestrian statue of him. The initiative moved the centre of the city from the medieval area around Gammeltorv, at that time a muddy medieval marketplace, to a cobbled new square with a garden complex, inspired by the Royal city planning seen in Paris from the early 17th century.

Final briefing before quick lunch. Magasin Du Nord is at the back of the photi

Important buildings facing the square include the Royal Danish Theater from 1874, the Charlottenborg Palace from 1671 (now converted as the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts), the Thott Palace from 1683 (now the French Embassy), the Hotel D'Angleterre, being one of the famous and expensive hotel in town and the Magasin du Nord department store, among others.

260 year old Hotel Dangleterre right infront of the King's Square (Kongens Nytorv)

These area has been develop in the beginning of the 17th century being part of King Christian IV's ambitious plan to strengthen Copenhagen as a regional centre. He wanted to double the area of the fortified city where he acquired 200 hectares of land outside Osterport in 1606. In the beginning of the 1640s the old Ostervold was abandoned altogether. The new location of the King's new square, Kongens Nytorv, was decided in 1647 when the construction of the street Godtersgade took place in the same year. According to a masterplan from created by the fortification engineer Axel Urups, Kongens Nytorv was to be connected to the sea by a canal.

Painted hoarding wall to separate the construction area with the square. Behind the wall are where the site office and other facilities were established.

Shortly after Christian V was crowned as King in 1670, he decided to level and cobble the square, mainly due to military reasons, its strategic location with almost the same distance to all points along the ramparts of the city making it well suited as a central alarm square. In 1688, a baroque garden complex with trees around a parterre and a gilded equestrian statue of Christian V in its centre, was inaugurated. In 1747 the entire square was rebuilt by Frederik V as a military drill and ceremony ground for the King's troops until 1908, where the square was re-shaped into its original design.

Anchor, the memorial for World War II soldiers and sailors

On the square stands an old kiosk and telephone stand from 1913. It is built in Baroque Revival style with a copper-clad roof and hand-carved ornamentation. It also used to offer the first public telephonic connection in Copenhagen from where it was possible to call every day except Sunday from 10 am to 8 pm. Today it houses a small cafe with outdoor service for tourist to enjoy drinks and meal at the famous square.

The great Memorial Anchor at the end of Nyhavn, where it meets Kongens Nytorv, is a monument commemorating more than 1,700 Danish officers and sailors in service for the Navy, merchant fleet or Allied Forces, who sacrificed their lives during World War II. The Anchor was inaugurated in 1951, replacing a temporary wooden cross erected on the spot in 1945, and has a plaque with a monogram of King Frederik VII on it. The Memorial Anchor is from 1872 and was used on the Frigate Fyn (Funen), which was docked at Holmen Naval Base during the Second World War. Every year on 5th May or during Denmark’s Liberation day 1945, an official ceremony is held to honour and commemorate the fallen at the Memorial Anchor.

Nyhavn is a 17th-century waterfront, canal and entertainment district in Copenhagen, Denmark. Stretching from Kongens Nytorv to the harbour front just south of the Royal Playhouse, it is lined by brightly coloured 17th and early 18th century townhouses and bars, cafes and restaurants. The canal harbours many historical wooden ships.

Nyhavn was constructed by King Christian V from 1670 to 1673, dug by Swedish war prisoners from the Dano-Swedish War 1658–1660. It is a gateway from the sea to the old inner city at Kongens Nytorv, where ships handled cargo and fishermens' catch berthing. It was once a notorious place for beer, sailors, and prostitution but is now a famous tourist attraction. Danish author Hans Christian Andersen lived at Nyhavn for some 18 years (between 845 and 1864) at house no. 67, near where a memorial plaque now stands.

The first bridge across Nyhavn opened on 6 February 1875. It was a temporary wooden footbridge. It was replaced by the current bridge in 1912. As shipping business grew larger, Nyhavn was taken over by an internal Danish small vessel freight traffic. After World War II and land transportation that took over its role, small vessel traffic soon disappeared from the Port of Copenhagen, leaving Nyhavn largely deserted of ships. In the mid-1960s, the Nyhavn Society was founded with the aim of revitalising the area. In 1977, Nyhavn was inaugurated as a veteran ship and museum harbour by Copenhagen’s Lord Mayor Egon Weidekamp. In 1980 Nyhavn quay was converted to pedestrians. Since then it has become a popular spot for tourists and locals, merging and serving the function as part of the King’s Square.

The northern side of Nyhavn is lined by brightly coloured townhouses built with wood, bricks, and plaster. The oldest house, at No. 9, dates from 1681.Nyhavn Veteran Ship and Museum Harbour, occupying the inner section of Nyhavn, between the Nyhavn Bridge and Kongens Nytorv, and is lined with old ships. To those who has time, should spend some time to explore the museum. From the foundation of the heritage harbour in 1977, the south side of the canal has been reserved for museum ships owned by the Danish National Museum. 

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