Early history[ edit ] Although the earliest historical records of Copenhagen are from the end of the 12th century, recent archaeological finds in connection with work on the city's metropolitan rail system revealed the remains of a large merchant's mansion near today's Kongens Nytorv from c.
These finds indicate that Copenhagen's origins as a city go back at least to the 11th century. Substantial discoveries of flint tools in the area provide evidence of human settlements dating to the Stone Age.
Clemens Church had been built. Attacks by the Germans continued, and after the original fortress was eventually destroyed by the marauders, islanders replaced it with Copenhagen Castle.
On Absalon's death, the property was to come into the ownership of the Bishopric of Roskilde. As the fishing industry thrived in Copenhagen, particularly in the trade of herring , the city began expanding to the north of Slotsholmen. Originally controlled by the Catholic Church , the university's role in society was forced to change during the Reformation in Denmark in the late s.
Copenhagen's defences were reinforced with a series of towers along the city wall. During the second half of the century, the city prospered from increased trade across the Baltic supported by Dutch shipping. Christoffer Valkendorff , a high-ranking statesman, defended the city's interests and contributed to its development.
During the reign of Christian IV between and , Copenhagen had dramatic growth as a city. On his initiative at the beginning of the 17th century, two important buildings were completed on Slotsholmen: To foster international trade, the East India Company was founded in To the east of the city, inspired by Dutch planning, the king developed the district of Christianshavn with canals and ramparts.
It was initially intended to be a fortified trading centre but ultimately became part of Copenhagen. All the major institutions were located there, as was the fleet and most of the army. The defences were further enhanced with the completion of the Citadel in and the extension of Christianshavns Vold with its bastions in , leading to the creation of a new base for the fleet at Nyholm.
Along with the fire , it is the main reason that few traces of the old town can be found in the modern city. In , work began on the royal residence of Christiansborg Palace which was completed in In , development of the prestigious district of Frederiksstaden was initiated. Designed by Nicolai Eigtved in the Rococo style, its centre contained the mansions which now form Amalienborg Palace.
Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson led the main attack. Particularly notable was the use of incendiary Congreve rockets containing phosphorus, which cannot be extinguished with water that randomly hit the city.
Few houses with straw roofs remained after the bombardment. The largest church, Vor frue kirke , was destroyed by the sea artillery. Several historians consider this battle the first terror attack against a major European city in modern times. In the background from left to right: Nicholas Church and Holmen Church The British landed 30, men, they surrounded Copenhagen and the attack continued for the next three days, killing some 2, civilians and destroying most of the city.
Painting prospered under C. Eckersberg and his students while C. This dramatic increase of space was long overdue, as not only were the old ramparts out of date as a defence system but bad sanitation in the old city had to be overcome.
From , the west rampart Vestvolden was flattened, allowing major extensions to the harbour leading to the establishment of the Freeport of Copenhagen — The spread of housing to areas outside the old ramparts brought about a huge increase in the population.
In , Copenhagen was inhabited by approximately , people. By , it had some , inhabitants. With its new city hall and railway station , its centre was drawn towards the west. Plans were drawn up to demolish the old part of Christianshavn and to get rid of the worst of the city's slum areas. German leader Adolf Hitler hoped that Denmark would be "a model protectorate "  and initially the Nazi authorities sought to arrive at an understanding with the Danish government.
The Danish parliamentary election was also allowed to take place, with only the Communist Party excluded. But in August , after the government's collaboration with the occupation forces collapsed, several ships were sunk in Copenhagen Harbor by the Royal Danish Navy to prevent their use by the Germans.
Around that time the Nazis started to arrest Jews , although most managed to escape to Sweden. Political prisoners were kept in the attic to prevent an air raid, so the RAF had to bomb the lower levels of the building. In the first wave, all six planes carrying one bomb each hit their target, but one of the aircraft crashed near Frederiksberg Girls School. Because of this crash, four of the planes in the two following waves assumed the school was the military target and aimed their bombs at the school, leading to the death of civilians of which 87 were schoolchildren.
From the s, on the initiative of the young architect Jan Gehl , pedestrian streets and cycle tracks were created in the city centre. Copenhagen Airport underwent considerable expansion, becoming a hub for the Nordic countries.
In the s, large-scale housing developments were realized in the harbour area and in the west of Amager. As a result, Copenhagen has become the centre of a larger metropolitan area spanning both nations. The bridge has brought about considerable changes in the public transport system and has led to the extensive redevelopment of Amager. Educational institutions have also gained importance, especially the University of Copenhagen with its 35, students. They consist mainly of residential housing and apartments often enhanced with parks and greenery.
Some greensand from the Selandian is also present. There are a few faults in the area, the most important of which is the Carlsberg fault which runs northwest to southeast through the centre of the city.
It is located just 15 minutes by bicycle or a few minutes by metro from the city centre. The first and most popular of these is located at Islands Brygge and has won international acclaim for its design. Apart from slightly higher rainfall from July to September, precipitation is moderate.
While snowfall occurs mainly from late December to early March, there can also be rain, with average temperatures around the freezing point. By contrast, the average hours of sunshine are less than two per day in November and only one and a half per day from December to February.
In the spring, it gets warmer again with four to six hours of sunshine per day from March to May. February is the driest month of the year. On the summer solstice, the sun rises at On the winter solstice, it rises at There is therefore a difference of 10 hours and 31 minutes in the length of days and nights between the summer and winter solstices.