The Old Square or the Old Market (Gammeltorv) is the oldest square in Copenhagen, Denmark. With adjoining Nytorv it forms a common space along the Strøget pedestrian zone. While the square dates back to the foundation of the city in the 12th century, most of its buildings were constructed after the Great Fire of 1795 in Neoclassical style. Another dominating feature is the Caritas Well, a Renaissance fountain erected by King Christian IV in 1610.
Historically, Gammeltorv has been the focal point of Copenhagen's judicial and political life as well as one of its two principal marketplaces. Several former city halls have been located on the square or in its immediate vicinity. Surprisingly, its name is not a reference to adjoining Nytorv but to the slightly younger Amagertorv, Copenhagen's other major market in early times.
In 1479 a new town hall was built om the south side of Gammeltorv. Towards the end of the 16th century, King Frederick II provided for the construction of a water tube from Lake Emdrup. Six kilometres long, it was made from carved out tree trunks, and with an altitude difference of 9 metres the water pressure was high enough to erect Copenhagen's first fountain at Gammeltorv. King King Christian IV moved and redesigned Frederick II's fountain, creating the Caritas Well. It was also at this point that the area behind the town hall was cleared and Nytorv founded.
When Kongens Nytorv —King King Christian V's grand new place royale —was established in 1670 and the area of the Copenhagen fortified was doubled, Gammeltorv lost its status as the focal square of the city. However, it remained a crowded marketplace in the middle of an over-populated city.
In the Copenhagen Fire of 1795 the city hall burnt down for the second time in its history, however after this it was moved to a site at Nytorv and the two earlier squares were merged to form one large, rectangular space. After the fire the buildings around the square were mainly rebuilt in the Neoclassical style typical of the time.
With the onset of the 20th century market activities started to decrease.
In 1937 Arne Jacobsen contributed to the square with his Stelling House, a Functionalist building on the corner of Skindergade.
Gammeltorv became increasingly dominated by cars and in the 1950s it started turning into a car park. This was changed when the Strøget pedestrian zone was laid out in the 1950s.
Today Gammeltorv is one of the busiest squares in central Copenhagen. At its latest refurbishment, conducted by city architect Otto Käszner in 1993, the footprint of the former city hall was marked in the paving with a paler stone.
A modern proof of Gammeltorv's historic role as the centre of the city is that house numbers in Copenhagen proceed from the end of the street which is located closest to the square.