Grand mansions, humble timber framed buildings and Gothic stone houses. The old buildings frame the modern life in Elsinore's many streets, roads and alleys.
Gl. Færgestræde is not entirely like the other streets in town. The unpolished field rocks lie as they did in the middle ages, rough and uneven, making you automatically switch your walking from frisk to careful. On each side of the road towers tall, yellow houses, holding the city noises at bay. If a dirty little piglet had walked around in the open gutters of the street, while chamber pots were emptied from the slanting windows, it would only fit the ambience.
Although it did receive an extra dose of medieval ambience in 2009, when the rough field stones were restructured, and the original open gutters, which was once the norm in all the city’s streets, were laid anew, Gl. Færgestræde is a piece of authentic medieval street in the middle of Elsinore. The street was established in the 1500s as a connection between the piers on the beach and the main street of a city, whose strategic placement by the gateway to Øresund secured future growth through international trade connections.
As early as 1426, Erik af Pommern gave the city unique market town privileges, and in the 1550s Elsinore was the 5th largest city in Denmark. Since then it went downhill for Elsinore, and poverty was a reality for many. Bad for the citizens of the time, but good for the preservation of the old buildings. For it was very much due to the increasing poverty that so many of the town’s old houses were not replaced with new ones, as it happened in so many other places. For example the neighbouring city of Helsingborg.
In 1426, Erik af Pommern gave the city expansive trading privileges and turned it into an important religious centre with several abbeys. This lead to a population explosion, turning Elsinore into Denmark’s third largest town after Copenhagen and Malmø.
”Observed from the road, Elsinore did not promise me much, but now that I am inside, it seems to me like a small Copenhagen… No traffic! How lively on the pier, here som fat Dutchmen with their hollow language, there I hear some of the harmonic Italien, further down they are loading coal on an English brig, so close that I can almost smell London. The street is sown with ships, floating past the coasts like seagulls.” Quote by H.C. Andersen, who in his young (and miserable) days went to the latin school on Kongensvej.