This beautiful city has been the Danish capital for about 500 years. It was chosen because of its central placement in the Danish Kingdom, when Skåne, Halland, and Blekinge (Schweden) and Norwegen were part of Denmark. The great Danish warlord Absalon, who is known as the city's founder, built the first castle here in 1167. Most of the oldest known buildings were ravaged by fire in the years 1728-1807, but some old castles and palaces remain; most of them built by the Danish king Christian IV in the 17th century.
Today Copenhagen is a modern and friendly city, with many attractions and landmarks like The little Mermaid, Tivoli and Amalienborg (the royal palace). Many major firms have built new headquaters close to the harbour, which has changed dramatically in the last 10-15 years. Most of the heavy industry has moved outside the city, and the water is now clean enough for swimming. Despite all the new buildings the skyline is dominated by church towers, since tall buildings are prohibited in the city center.
The new Øresund fixed link between Copenhagen and Malmö has opened new potential for the area. One of the most exciting projects on the Copenhagen side is the Ørestad zone. A high-rise cluster is planned there and the first buildings are already constructed.
Like the other Scandinavian capitals, Copenhagen is a fine mix between old and new.