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Originally a Viking fishing village founded in the 10th century, Copenhagen became the capital of Denmark in the early 15th century.
Beginning in the 17th century it consolidated its position as a regional centre of power with its institutions, defences and armed forces.
With a number of bridges connecting the various districts, the cityscape is characterised by parks, promenades and waterfronts.
Later, following the Second World War, the Finger Plan fostered the development of housing and businesses along the five urban railway routes stretching out from the city centre.
Copenhagen is situated on the eastern coast of the island of Zealand; another small portion of the city is located on Amager, and is separated from Malmö, Sweden, by the strait of Øresund.
The Øresund Bridge connects the two cities by rail and road.
The name of the city reflects its origin as a harbour and a place of commerce.
The original designation, from which the contemporary Danish name derives, was Køpmannæhafn, meaning "merchants' harbour", often simply Hafn or Havn ("harbour").