November 10, 2011

0033 DENMARK (Hovedstaden) - A street called Strøget

The wet asphalt's gloss, the sunset extinguishing at the end of the street, the bicycles frozen in the middle of a dance, the almost empty street guarded by old buildings, suggesting the Germanic spirit, an unknown place, but a known feeling, all these things made me want to have this postcard. Behold I have it, and the way in which I have received it also delighted me, because, after I asked her, Daria said to me: "I understand what kind of postcards you want from me. I'll send one soon. If you would like to respond and send a postcard to me, I'll be glad to receive it. You can take a look at my profile and wishlist. You'll find my address on the postcard I'm going to send to you." Yes, in such moments, even I, with my misanthropic tendencies, can be convinced that the people are wonderful.

On the back of the postcard is written "Amagertorv Strøget". Aha, so isn't any street, chosen at random, as I thought. Far from it. The Strøget is Copenhagen's pedestrian shopping zone and at the same time Europe's longest shopping street (1,1 km). On this area, visitors find countless smaller and larger shops in all price ranges, along with larger department stores, restaurants, and cafés. Therefore, daytime and when the weather is good, the street is really animated (about 250,000 people use Strøget every summer day). Even more special is this photo, almost devoid of people. Perhaps it's a late autumn evening, after the clothes of the few pedestrians who hangout on the street.

So. Created by Danish architect and urban planner Jan Gehl, whose work has focused on improving conditions for walking, this, I find now, famous street from Denmark became a pedestrian only after 1962 and almost by accident. The Routen street, what was it called at that time, had closed during the 1950s to car traffic at Christmas for a couple of days. In 1962 the closure was disguised as an extended holiday closure and the road has remained closed since. Good job and beautiful "workmanship".

If you look up and down the side streets you’ll see many of Copenhagen's beautiful sights, such as Helligåndskirken (The Church of the Holy Ghost), Vor Frue Kirke (The Church of Our Lady), the National Cathedral of Denmark where Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary were married, behind Gammeltorv (Gammel Square), the court house at Nytorv (Ny Square) and Nikolaj Church nearby.

Strøget is not just shopping, but is also famous for artistic performances offered to pedestrians by strolling artists, but is also famous for artistic performances offered to pedestrians by strolling artists, be they magicians, musicians, acrobats or large man in full Viking costume. Street performances take place mostly in Amagertorv. Behold we reached to the second name from the postcard. Amagertorv (means Amager Square) has in its center a splendid fountain with storks, called Storkespringvandet, around it midwives used to dance after graduation. Quaint and cute. Fountain can be seen in image, but not sure if someone figured from this angle that those birds are storks.

About the stamp
The stamp is one from a set of four definitive postage stamps (6, 8, 9 and 11 DKK) issued by Post Danmark on March 9, 2011. They feature the same portrait of Queen Margrethe II, with a vertical band of different colors, depending on the value. 

sender: Daria (direct swap)
sent from Copenhagen (Hovedstaden / Denmark, on 01.11.2011
photo: Tullio Gatti

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