Saturday, November 24, 2012

Living Free

Text and Pix by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Bicycle is a common mode of transport in Christiania

You are warmly welcome to Christiania”, hospitable Christianians welcome visitors. Christiania is known as “Free Town” and is situated in the middle of Denmark’s capital Copenhagen. The concept of Christiania is “Peace, Love and Understanding”. It’s depicted in their flag, which has three yellow circles on dark orange background. It’s believed that, a lot of red and yellow paints were found at the time, when the original squatters took over the former military barracks, and as a result these colours were used to make their flag. A self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood covers more than 85 acres, and has more than 1,000 inhabitants. More than one million people visit Christiania each year to explore its arts, crafts and progressive Danish lifestyle.

Visitors are attracted by free town’s magic mixture of anarchy and love. Christiania is also known as “Losers’ Paradise”, because of its rare creativity (graffiti and murals) and recreational values.

We say no to hard drugs, weapons and violence. We welcome all from Denmark and other parts of the world. We don’t treat others differently. The people of Christiania want to lead a simple life. The government wants to build apartments in Christiania, but we oppose the idea. We want to live in peace” says Ole Lykke, the spokesperson for Christiania, and one of the initial occupants of the place.

Christiania was founded in 1971 by the squatters. They knocked down the fence, and used the unused former military barracks as a playground for their children.
The use of hash is criminal, and possession is punishable in Denmark. But, hard drugs such as cocaine, heroin, speed and so on are brought into Christiania from Balkans. It’s a big business in the free town, and we do routine raids and arrests” according to Copenhagen Police.

A dream of a life in freedom, communal living and an idea of a city ruled by its inhabitants is still alive. Homeless, jobless, Greenlanders and vagabonds find refuge in Christiania.

Make LOVE, not war in Christiania
Flag of Christiania depicts "Peace, Love and Understanding"

 View of a gallery
Stone painting to convey the message
"You Are Now Entering The EU", it means Christiania is not part of the European Union
Creative painting from across the street
Winter view
Buddhist cum Hindu shrine
Arts unfolds in many forms
Writing about Mahathma Gandhi placed at a notice board
Colourful graffiti depicts love
Scene during a stroll
Metal craft made in Christiania
Baby girl at play
Christiania is a place for creativity
Graffiti is found everywhere
Ducks braving snow
Creative Graffiti at a toilet
An overview of Christiania

 Today's pictorial on Ceylon Toady



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