Danish Architecture Guide

Gråbrødre Square

Gråbrødretorv was not planned as a square. Over time the square has had varying layouts and been used for different purposes from cloister garth, butchers' stalls, air-raid shelters etc. to the attractive urban space that we know today.

In 1841 the square officially got its present name, but the history of the square can be traced all the way back to the early Middle Ages. The first of the capital's few monasteries was founded then. The monastery was situated in the southwestern corner; the small indentation towards Klosterstræde was probably a part of a cloister garth. Some of the houses lying in the indentation have basements dating from the time of the monastery, which can still be seen in some of the restaurants that are now lying here.

The houses surrounding the square have been destroyed and rebuilt several times, first in the big fires in 1728 and 1795 and then once again after the bombardment in 1807. The houses in the square are noteworthy in that the row of houses on the southern side are the so-called conflagration houses, while the houses on the western side are typical of the building style after the bombardment.

In 1968 the square was paved with cobblestone, it was turned into a pedestrian area, and in 1971 it had its own little fountain, created by the sculptor Søren Georg Jensen. The fountain and the 100-year-old plane tree in the centre are the only decorations in the square.


Tuesday, December 31, 2013 / By Kasper Egeberg

Last updated Wednesday, January 22, 2014