Known as the historic heart of Copenhagen, this tiny 21-hectare piece of land is actually an island. The English translation of Slotsholmen is 'the castle islet', and as the name suggests, it is the site of the original Christiansborg Castle, built in 1167 by Bishop Absalon and cited as the first settlement in the area, as well as the 14th century Copenhagen Castle and the various incarnations of the Christiansborg Palace built upon the ruins. These days, Christiansborg is shared by the Royal Family and by the country's Parliament, or Folketinget.
Copenhagen's museum district, Slotsholmen has ample fare for the historically curious and culture hungry: Thorvaldsens Museum (housing the collection of the Danish neo-classicist sculptor Bertel Throvaldesen), the Kongelige Stalde og Kareter or Royal Stables, the Theatre Museum, the Danish-Jewish Museum, the Royal Library Det Kongelige Bibliotek (known to locals as 'Den Sorte Diamant', or 'the Black Diamond',) and the Royal Armories. Another fascinating building is the old stock exchange building (Børsen), also known as Christian IV's stock exchange, with its 56-meter high dragon spire.
Slotsholmen is surrounded by both Copenhagen's harbour and by its canals, and connected to the rest of the inner city by no less than nine bridges, including Højbro, a wrought-iron arched construction built in 1878, and Stormbroen, a small, arched bridge of stone that marks the spot where Swedish troops led their assault on the city ramparts in 1659, and where Danish troops finally secured victory.
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