Yet another overlooked part of Copenhagen uniqueness. We all rush hurridly by these monuments of our history without paying any attention.
Even though the "Seven-Elevens" of this world aspire to make these kiosks extint, a few can fortunately still be found in the capital.
This one is located on "Kultorvet" whereas the one on the main page background is located at the corner of Fiolstræde and Nørre Voldgade.
So how old is this historic kiosk? It actually delivers the answer itself if you look a little closer.
Each kiosk has an arched wooden decoration on top of each of its six sides and one of these decorations carry the year of construction, in this case MDCCCLXXXXVI or, in Arabic numerals, the year 1896.
The year is inscribed into the band swirling in the top section. The lower section has two rams. I have not been able to figure out the animal (bird?) spreading its wings alongside the arched rim.
These little newsstands, originally telephone booths, served more purposes than the obvious -selling newspapers, tobacco and other daily necessities.
Up in the hat of the cupperclad booth were three built-in clocks, which allowed passerbys to know the time at a glance without having to stop and pull out their pocket watch. Bear in mind that these booths stem from a time when wrist watches were not invented and when not everyone could afford a pocket watch.
Note also the ball and twisted spear at the peak.
This section pays tribute to the basic trades of the late 1800's.
Flanking a centered cogwheel, the top side sections herald industry with a hammer, a pair of pincers and a chain. The central section acknowledges agriculture with six straws with ears.
Bottom left has what looks like a lobster, representing the fishing industry, and a pair of scales bottom right symbolizes tradesmen.
These newsstands are loaded with great artwork of historic value. Take a few minutes off from your busy day to dwelve into the interesting details.
Pictured here is a city gate flanked by a small section of the city wall on both sides. Copenhagen has long lost its fortified city walls and ramparts originally constructed in the 13th century.
This tiny piece of history is crowning the top center of each of the six arched top decorations.
This one is a little harder to place and if anyone out there can enlighten me, I would appreciate it.
The lion on the left is not surprising; the coat of arms of Copenhagen in the late 1800's included two flanking lions. But the coconut palm tree behind the lion as also behind the young woman on the right is mysterious. Palm trees cannot grow in the Danish climate except under a controlled climate.
The six-pointed star as well as the flowers at the bottom right and left, which are somewhat reminiscent of papyrus, lead the thoughts in the direction of Egypt and the Middle East?
Copenhagen can get pretty dark and for an extensive amount of hours during the winter season. The newsstands were therefore equipped with a lantern at each corner post to make the booth easy to recognize from a distance. The lanterns had a distinctive green tinted glass as a trademark.
Nowadays the lanterns are lit by eco-friendly light bulbs, but back in the 1800s they were lit by gas as were all street lamps in those days.
Another odd mixture. The top section holds four viking longboats observed by a hovering seagull at top center and watched by an octopus in the waters beneath.
The left bottom section has two large fish and to the right a man pooring wine from an amphora.
Even the top of the booth has interesting details overlooked by most passerbys. Note the small globe-like sphere magnificently shaped from flat copper strips.
Yet another great mixture. The wise owl takes center stage flanked by three bird in flight on both sides. Two odders prowl under the owl.
The bottom left section features two night watchmen and the right section a large shrip curls up in joy.
This is my favorite frieze. It includes so many varied figures and meanings that it is a whole story on its own.
The castle top center is probably symbolic of the capital; note the waters underneath with the waves, which almost resemble eagle heads.
But the two flanking men communicating with each other through a curling pipe with old style telephony where the speaking and listening devices were separate has a deeper meaning. All the way up to a couple of decades ago these booths would have in the rear a small cabin with a public phone. You would pay for your calls at the service window at the front. So these two men bear witness to an earlier -now long forgotten- function of these kiosks.
A mystic troll occupies the center of the frieze and it is flanked by two lizards.
A longhorned ram fills the left bottom section and the right bottom section holds a centaur bending his bow ready to fire.
The old newsstand sits snugly aside from the main throughfare but remains a historic monument claiming its small share of the history of Copenhagen.