Square in Rådhuspladsen & Tivoli

Image by Caroline Coupe Lonely Planet

The square outside Copenhagen's Rådhus (City Hall) unites the busy thoroughfare of Vestrobrogade and the bustling Strøget pedestrian street. While the current hoardings (metro station under construction) mar its beauty somewhat, it remains home to a number of city icons. Among these is the Italian-inspired Rådhus itself, built in 1905, and a charming statue of Hans Christian Andersen. Seated and sporting a top hat, the writer gazes wistfully at the historic Tivoli Gardens amusement park located across the very street named in his honour.

A few steps away from Denmark's most famous storyteller is the so-called Dragon Fountain, depicting a large dragon doing battle with a bull. The fountain was designed by Joakim Skovgaard in collaboration with Thorvald Bindesbøll. Interestingly, Bindesbøll is best known for designing the world-famous Carlsberg label. Next to the fountain stands a stone pillar, marking where Vesterport – the West gate – once stood when the city centre was surrounded by fortified walls. Identical pillars can be found at Nørreport (the North gate) and Østerport (the East gate). Towering above the square are the Lur Blowers, a pair of Viking statues sharing a tall pillar originally meant for one. The instrument they are playing is the lur, a Norse Bronze Age relic once used for religious ceremonies and rituals.