Before I start with my actual entry, I would like to propose a game: throughout my post, and posts to come, I am going to insert Danske words in place of English words and then put the definitions and pronunciation at the bottom! So guess what they mean and try to say them out loud while you read. Good luck! This should be entertaining…
Orientation week was full of new information about a lot of boring stuff and some fun stuff. However, one day we did The Amazing Race around Kopenhavn. This wasn’t really a race, per say, since we were not pressed for time, but it did lead us around to several landmarks in the city. At each location there were professors who taught a subject related to the place we were looking at, and told us about the history or significance.
First, my group went to Christiansborg, or parliament. The current palace is the third version of the building, which has survived two fires. The original building was byggede in 1167, although it was first called Absalon’s Castle and then Copenhagen Castle. The first Christiansborg was completed around 1745. It used to house the royal family, but it doesn’t anymore and instead Parliament resides there.
Next we trekked to the Black Diamond library. This library is super modern and really quite impressive. It is attached to the gamle library, which makes the change in architecture very apparent. We learned about the new styles of arkitektur in Copenhagen and how some areas are transitioning between the old/traditional and new/modern styles. Copenhagen is a wonderful place to study architecture, by the way.
We then visited the Church of Our Savior, which was built by Chrisitian V. This kirke is built in the shape of a Greek cross (where all four sides are equal) in order to make the statement that the influence of the church and the state are equal. There are also intricate carvings all over the church that emphasize this message. One of the coolest parts of the church is one that is best seen from afar, however. The spire is wrapped with a golden staircase on the outside, which you can climb.
After the church, we visited Nyhavn (new-haun) where sailors and prostitutes used to park themselves. Christian V also constructed this historic canal. Today the street harbors mange pricey cafes and restaurants that are especially colorful and bright when the sun shines on the buildings of the north side during the summer.
Last, we saw Amalienborg Palace, which is where the royal familie currently lives. This castle is not as grand as royal residences usually are, and it is located out of the city center. The location and lack of grandeur make a statement that the monarchy is more of a figurehead and Parliament (which, remember, took over the old Christiansborg Palace) has the real magt. We watched the changing of the guard, but unfortunately I didn’t get to touch any of the guards’ fluffy hats…
So, The Amazing Race really did lead us around to some of the most fascinating monuments in the city. I can’t wait to get to know more of historic Copenhagen as well as some of the smaller pockets and neighborhoods of the city!
**“r” is pretty much always pronounced in the back of the throat. In fact, most of the language is pronounced in the back of the throat, which is why it is so challenging for us English-speakers who use the front of our throat much more!
Danske = Danish
Køpenhavn (coopen-haun) = Copenhagen
Borg (bor) = castle
Byggede (bue-gelle) = built
Gamle (gah-mle) = old
Arkitektur = architecture
Kirke (keerke) = church
Mange (mahnguh) = many
Familie (fameeleeuh) = family
Magt (makt) = power