History & legends, Copenhagen
This is a large fountain located in Langelinie Park near one of the cruise ship docks. It is next to Kastellet and is the largest monument in Copenhagen. The fountain was donated to the city of Copenhagen by the Carlsberg Foundation on the occasion of the brewery’s 50-year anniversary. It was originally supposed to be located in the main town square outside city hall, but it was decided instead to build it near the Øresund in its current location near Kastellet ("The Citadel"). It was designed by Danish artist Anders Bundgaard, who sculpted the naturalistic figures 1897-99. The basins and decorations were completed in 1908. The fountain was first activated on July 14, 1908.
Fondest memory: According to the legend, the Swedish king Gylfi promised Gefjun the territory she could plow in a night. She turned her four sons into oxen, and the territory they plowed out of the earth was then thrown into the sea between Sweden and the island of Fyn in Denmark. The recorded guide material on the bus says that it could be true because Zealand and one of the lakes resemble each other in size and shape. My granddaughter found it amusing that the narrative said that the legend could be true.
Absalon was always at war and floated all his life. He personally ordered armies in battles, actively promoted construction of temples and castles. He personally involved to Denmark a lot of European architects.
But may be a stone-laying of the fortress on the coast of Oresund passage became the main merit of Absalon. It turned subsequently to Copenhagen. And we are proud of Russian influence on it owning Ingeborg – the Russian princess and the Danish queen who took part in Axel's Absalon education.
A figure of Absalon you can see on a wall of the Copenhagen Town Hall. The Absalon's monument stands on Hojbro square. Axeltorvet-square and Absalongade-street are named in honour of the bishop.
Bishop Axel Absalon - the founder of Copenhagen is extremely esteemed in Denmark. He was one of the most powerful statesmen of the country during its history. His origin was one of reasons of his popularity. The king of Denmark Valdemar I the Great was born in Russia. The Russian princess Ingeborg was his mother. She was the daughter of the Russian Great duke Mstislav.
He spent his youth in a family of a notable zealander Asser Rin. According to tradition, his sons Eskil and Absalon became oath brothers of the king. Such brotherhood fixed by special ceremony, was appreciated above consanguinity. When children grew up, Valdemar ascended to the throne. Eskil was appointed by archbishop of Denmark, and Axel Absalon became a bishop of the Danish capital Roskilde.
King Eric VII (1417-1443) makes a new fortress by his residence, and Copenhagen became the capital of Denmark.
During board of king Christian IV (1588-1648) the city was actively reconstructed. There were buildings in the style of Renaissance, Rozenborg castle, the first European stock exchange Borsen, the Round tower, Christianshavn area.
After an epidemic of plagues (1711) there were only a third alive from 60 thousand inhabitants of Copenhagen.
During Napoleonic wars in 1807 Copenhagen was seriously destroyed in fire of British armies. In 1852 there appeared first constructions outside a city wall.
In 1167 Axel Absalon, a bishop of Roskilde, received in gift from Valdemar the king of Denmark a peace of ground on a coast of Sound-passage where there was a fishing settlement. Absalon pawns a stone fortress in the form of a circle for protection against pirates opposite it, on the island of Slotsholmen.
Soon it receives the name of Komandshavn - "a merchant harbor" which in due course was transformed to "Copenhagen". In 1369 the fortress of Absalon was destroyed by armies of Hansa. A new fortress on Slotsholmen was built in 1376.
From about 800-1100 Norsemen (or Vikings) warriors, peasants, and seamen, came from southern Sweden. They were northern Germanic Danes whose rulers created the first Danish state in Jutland. They traded, raided and settled all over Europe and conquered England in 1013 with a second conquest there as Normans in 1066.
More about the history of the Vikings and Denmark can be found at the Nationalmuseet (National Museum).
The Gefion fountain is the largest fountain in Denmark. It was designed by Anders Bundgard a Danish artist who built it in 1908.
The fountain shows the Norse goddess Gefion (Gefyon) and four oxen. The legend is that Gefion asked the Swedish King for land, he said she could have whatever land she could plough in a night. Therefore she turned her four sons into oxen and ploughed throughout the night. The earth that Gefion had now ploughed was thrown into the sea and became the island of Zealand. It is said that the land she ploughed from Sweden is where Lake Vanern lies now.
This fountain has recently been renovated, and it is one of the sights around the Kastellet that I recommend you go and see.
Højbro Plads or square
The main feature of this square is the equestrian statue of Bishop Absalon, founder of Copenhagen. On the base of the statue you see herring swimming - symbolizing the importance of the herring-fishing during the Middle Ages which was the reason for the emergence of the present city of Copenhagen.