When Copenhagen was growing a lot during the first half of the 19th century the city was becoming too small. There were no options to extend the original city since it was all surrounded by fortifications and nobody was allowed to build outside the walls of the city.
By 1845 the city had grown to 150,000 people in addition to thousands of horses and cows all located inside the city walls – this has led to severe overcrowding and horrible sanitary conditions. It was no longer possible to let the population grow even further within the old walls so the city had to expand beyond the walls. Most of the fortifications were considered obsolete anywhere so there was no point in keeping the city inside the old walls.
This was the case on three sides of Copenhagen where the old fortifications were transformed into small parks and lakes around the old town – but with nothing left of the old fortifications to give you an idea what it looked like.
The only part of the old walls which were kept was the area of Christianshavn where the fortifications facing the island of Amager were considered to still have some military value. Hence the fortifications here survived for another 64 years – until they were finally abandoned in 1909. But unlike the other fortifications this part actually survived to this day. Many tourists go to a certain part of this military area since Christiania Freetown is built on the old fortifications.
Today the old fortifications are a recreational area of Copenhagen which attracts a lot of locals who can go out for a run and see the water birds which use the area as their home. There are a lot of ducks, seagulls and usually some swans as well in additions to other water birds.
In addition to the bird life you can also see a few old buildings at the entrance to Christianshavn. This used to be the only gate in the wall letting the traffic in from Amager so it is a very old road. There is a restaurant at the locations which is housed in an old building from 1728 – it used to be a gate house where the military guarding the gate could stay during the watch.
A little further down the road you find a strange little house called Assiseboden – it has a roof which is hanging out on one side which make it look strange. The reason for this is the farmers going to the markets in Copenhagen had to pay a tariff here – and to protect against the rain the house had this peculiar shape.
When you are going around this area you also see an old stone – this gives the distances from the wall of Copenhagen to the different old villages on the island of Amager – today several of these villages has actually been integrated into greater Copenhagen or has disappeared under the airport of Copenhagen.