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").

With a number of bridges connecting the various districts, the cityscape is characterised by parks, promenades and waterfronts.

Copenhagen's landmarks such as Tivoli Gardens, The Little Mermaid statue, the Amalienborg and Christiansborg palaces, Rosenborg Castle Gardens, Frederik's Church, and many museums, restaurants and nightclubs are significant tourist attractions.

Defensive ramparts and moats were completed and by 1177 St. Attacks by the Germans continued, and after the original fortress was eventually destroyed by the marauders, islanders replaced it with Copenhagen Castle.

In 1186, a letter from Pope Urban III states that the castle of Hafn (Copenhagen) and its surrounding lands, including the town of Hafn, were given to Absalon, Bishop of Roskilde 1158–1191 and Archbishop of Lund 1177–1201, by King Valdemar I.

The largest lake of Denmark, Arresø, lies around 27 miles (43 kilometers) northwest of the City Hall Square.

Copenhagen is home to the University of Copenhagen, the Technical University of Denmark and Copenhagen Business School.

Copenhagen's economy has seen rapid developments in the service sector, especially through initiatives in information technology, pharmaceuticals and clean technology.

Since the completion of the Øresund Bridge, Copenhagen has become increasingly integrated with the Swedish province of Scania and its largest city, Malmö, forming the Øresund Region.

The annual Copenhagen Marathon was established in 1980.