It is hard to imagine that a serene and lovely place such as the Citadel was once the site of violent battles and sieges in Denmark. But visitors to this popular tourist attraction in Copenhagen can still see the many structures that have served to protect the city. The Kastellet was started by King Christian IV in the early 17th century and was completed by his son and the successor to the throne King Frederick III.

The star-shaped fortress is today one of Northern Europe’s best preserved military structures and a popular recreation area for the locals. Designed like a pentagram, the Kastellet was constructed with bastions at the corners, two gates (the south side protected by the King’s Gate and the north side by the Norway gate), ravelins and earthworks that further reinforced the fortress. Inside was a number of buildings that housed the soldiers and their families, the Commander’s House and several other structures that ensured the fortress would have adequate resources even during times of battle.

There were storehouses for storing food and weaponry, a powder house, a windmill, a church and even a prison house. To this day the windmill at Kastellet still works. The Kastellet is still fully owned by the Ministry of Defence but has largely become a public park where the locals come for picnics, biking, walking and open-air concerts during the summer and its anniversary in October. There is also a couple of small museums – the Garrison’s Historical Museum and the Livjaeger Museum.

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