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Helsingor or Elsinore (Helsingør), Denmark

Helsingør is also known in English as Helsingor and sometimes Elsinore. Helsingor is a town on the north coast of the island of Zealand approximately 46 km nouth of Copenhagen. Helsingor is the narrowest point of the strait which separates Denmark from Sweden. The Swedish mainland is only 4km away from Helsingor. The city itself has 34,350 (2008) inhabitants and the Helsingor Municipality has 60,844 (2008). It is known internationally as the setting of William Shakespeare's Hamlet, which is where the spelling 'Elsinore' originated.

Kronborg Castle is the main attraction in Helsingor. The castle has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Prior to the Middle Ages Helsingor was just a marketplace where people sold goods. About 1200 AD the first church, Sct Olai Church, was built. The oldest parts of the cathedral of Helsingør date back to the 1200s and tell us that the fishermen's village. A number of convents once surrounded the church, but now all that remains is the church building which today is called the Cathedral of Helsingor.

Helsingor as we know it today was founded in the 1420s by the Danish king Eric of Pomerania. In 1429 he built a castle called Krogen and established the Sound Dues. The Sound Dues were a tax system whereby all foreign ships passing through the strait, whether en route to or from Denmark or not, had to make a stop in Helsingor and pay a toll to the Danish Crown. If a ship refused to stop, cannons in both Helsingor and Helsingborg (the modern day Swedish side of the strait) could open fire and sink the passing ships. At this point in history Denmark controlled both sides of the strait. The castle was made bigger in the 1580s and renamed Kronborg Castle.

Hamlet has been performed in the courtyard at Kronborg Castle a number of times.

LastUpdate: 2015-04-10 15:15:07