The area in and around the Citadel is a place of adventure, history, nature and recreation. For centuries, this old military area was a vital link in Copenhagen’s defence against attack from the sea. As you approach from the city centre, cross the moat to the Citadel and enter through the ancient, stately royal gate, you find yourself walking back in time to the 1660s.
Sailors once dwelt the long red buildings here, while the yellow building housed their commandant. Attached to the church is the prison where the famous Danish statesman Struensee, chained to the wall, awaited his execution. Encircling them all are ten-metre-high grassy ramparts, bastions with cannons and an old windmill. Visit in the right season and you will see wild tulips and beautiful white hyacinths.
Just outside the Citadel is Churchill Park, home of the Gefion Fountain and St. Alban’s Anglican Church. Cherry trees blossom in the spring out by Langelinie, where the Little Mermaid perches on her rock by the harbour entrance. There are children’s playgrounds at Langelinie and outside the Swedish Church, to the north-east of the Citadel.
The Citadel moat is home to a rich population of waterfowl. On the ramparts and in the surrounding park, you can seek shelter under the sprawling trees, originally intended to foil the enemy’s attempts to survey the area during wartime, and to supply timber for stockades and repairs.
The Citadel, which is Northern Europe’s finest and best-preserved fortification, and still houses military institutions, celebrates its 350th anniversary in 2014.
Photo: Søren Rud