The Freetown of Christiana

The Freetown is the exquisite antithesis of everything in the regal Kobenhavn H; its sprawling and surreal beauty is all the more strange given the stark contrast of this free-spirited commune and the more conventional city centre. In Winter, with snow on the ground, this Freetown feels especially ethereal – a city perhaps best suited to summertime, the snow’s calm blanket over the chaotic patchwork of Christiana makes the whole experience seem dream-like; one stumbles around, almost waiting to be awoken at any moment from dreams of colourful graffiti, and snow-covered iron ladies. As you walk in, a neon mural of a luminous green tree is painted on the entrance, on which peachy-orange fairies scatter and perch; the sign above the doorway itself says – somewhat playfully – here be dragons.

Graffiti is a continuous theme throughout the winding maze of Christiana; the spray-painted name of the skatepark-  ‘wonderland’ – likens the whole place, rather aptly, to a dizzying trip down the rabbit hole. Love is King in small block print is printed in white paint on the sparse empty spaces of wall.

A staircase, dark red in colour and covered in graffiti, rises out of the snow, and leads to nowhere; a large sculpture of a woman – perhaps a version of the city’s famous little mermaid? – sits hollow, made out of crushed cans and old car parks.

As you walk further into the Freetown of Christiana, it should be noted that photos are frowned upon; though the town was once a Freetown, with its own governing and laws, it is no longer so; and while the illegality of weed perhaps matters far less here, the people who live in this strange pocket of the city are far from friendly to those who could potentially catch such activities on camera.

However, once you are past this point, the people start to appear. Organic cafes – far cheaper than the rest of Copenhagen – fill the air with warm, spiced smells, of curry and much-needed soup; market stalls selling jewellery pepper the winding streets throughout the district. The stall vendors are small and quiet, but describe each jewel you are browsing with such fervour and passion, it’s a wonder they have any left to sell. Each babbles profusely about where they the jewellery came from; one man claimed to go back to Afghanistan every year to pick up the intricate trinkets from master jewellers hidden in the mountains, and sell them at the market thousands of miles away, in the strange, and beautiful, Christiana.

It is no surprise that I would highly recommend spending at least a morning in Christiana, if not a day – here, you have the rare opportunity to visit a part of Danish culture not usually spoken about; another side of Copenhagen than the Royal Family and large Castles – and one that you will not forget for a very long time.

 

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