Christiania Square

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Christiania Square in Rådhusgata, 1890. Photo: Unknown / Oslo Museum
Christiania Torv (Christiania torv), the square at the intersection between Rådhusgata and Øvre Slottsgate, the name approved in 1958. The square is one of the city’s first squares, succeeded by Stortorvet in 1736. Around the square such structures as the city’s first city hall (Nedre Slottsgate 1) and ‘Anatomigården’ near the garrison hospital, Garnisonssykehuset (Rådhusgata 19), probably the oldest half-timbered building in the city. At the northwestern corner of the square there lies a new business complex from 1996 (Akersgata 2).

The City Hall (built in 1641) is now Restaurant Gamle Raadhus and was formerly premises made used of by Teatermuseet. Hellig Trefoldighets kirke was consecrated on Christiania Torv in 1639, but was destroyed by fire in 1686. The square has at times been used as a place of execution, and it was here that the stocks stood as well as ‘kaken’, a large pole with a iron collar, used for the public flogging of criminals. Christiania marked used to be held here in January and February every year from the 1640s until 1736, when it was moved to Stortorvet. There was also a public water pump on the square, ‘Vandkunsten’, from which citizens, for a charge, could lay down water pipes to their houses.

From 1878 until 1929, the church Johannes kirke lay on the square. Christiania Torv was enclosed and paved in 1964. After the square had been subject to heavy traffic for many years, it was restored in the 1990s. The ‘Christian IV’s glove’ fountain was erected in the middle of the square in 1997, designed by Wenche Gulbrandsen. The design of the square was awarded the City of Oslo Architectural Prize in 2003. One of The Oslo Society’s blue plaques was set up at the entrance to Akersgata 2 to commemorate the former square.