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21.10.2020

Grabrodretorv, Copenhagen

Gråbrødretorv is an urban square in the center in Copenhagen, Denmark, in the immediate vicinity of the pedestrian street Strogeta .

Gråbrødretorv (Greifriars Square) takes its name from the Franciscan monastery, which was founded on this site in 1238. The monastery consisted of a church, a refectory and a large hall, which in many cases was used for important public meetings and meetings. The monastery was dissolved in 1530, but the church tower was a visible part of the city horizon already in 1596. The monastery's huge cellars became an urban prison, and eventually the church itself was turned into a prison. In 1621, Christian IV attached a shelter and reopened the church as a house of prayer, although it was called the "Prison Church".

In the middle of the 17th century Corfitz Ulfeldt built a mansion on this place, and the square became known as Ulfeldt's Square. The mansion was demolished after his impeachment in 1663 and subsequent confiscation of his property. Instead, a pillar of shame was erected on the square, intended for people to spit as they passed by it.

In 1841 the square received its present name. In 1852, a market building was built on the square with a room for 20 butcher shops. It was built of cast iron from Frederickswerk. The building was demolished in 1901.

During the Copenhagen fire of 1728, almost all buildings around the square were destroyed. The area was restored, but after the British bombing of the city during the Battle of Copenhagen in 1807, it saw new destruction, but was restored again.

For many years, most of the square was occupied by a bunker surrounded by parking spaces.  On June 7, 1968, it became car-free as part of the first expansion of the pedestrian zone around Stroget; a number of bomb shelters left after World War II were removed, as well as parking spaces. According to architects Jan Gel and Lars Gemso, the square was not initially very popular, but gradually became more and more popular, especially among students from the nearby University of Copenhagen. By the 1980s, the square "was almost overflowing with outdoor space throughout the season," although it has lost some of its popularity in recent years and is now a relatively peaceful place.

The square has a somewhat hidden place. Niels Hemmingsgade connects it in opposite directions with Amagerthorv and Skindergade, Löwstrode connects it with Köbmagergade in the east, and Gröbredrestrede connects it with Klosterstrode in the west. Its area is 3,510 m².

On the square stand out colorful facades of houses and is dominated by a large sycamore. There is also a granite fountain, designed by Seren Georg Jensen and opened in 1971. The square is surrounded by many on-site restaurants and is a popular venue for small outdoor concerts, especially during the Copenhagen Jazz Festival.

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