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Stortorget (The Big Square) is a public square in Gamla Stan, the old town in central Stockholm. It is the oldest square in Stockholm, the historical centre around which the medieval urban conglomeration gradually came into being.

Number 22, the second building from the left to the right is from 1758 but is standing on medieval walls. It was occupied by the councillor Johan Berndes who developed the Swedish copper production in the 17th century, then by the Saxon Polycarpus Crumbügel, close friend to King Charles XI who caused the so-called Reduction when an important part of the Swedish nobility lost its estates (for which he was raised to peerage as Cronhielm). During an archaeological excavation in 1998, a vaulted chamber measuring 1.8×1.6 metres (approx. 5'11"×5'3") was discovered in the basement. It was supplied with a channel which is believed to have connected it to privies and kitchen sinks in the building. Along with some wooden tubes found near Kornhamnstorg, it is one of the few indications contradicting the traditional view of medieval Stockholm as a repulsive place where filth and refuse filled the streets.

The buildings on Number 18-20 were merged in the 17th century and subsequently named after Johan Eberhard Schantz, the secretary of Charles X Gustavus who also added the stepped gable and the grand portal on the left building. Parts of the interior still reflect the luxury which surrounded the royal secretary. The 82 white stones on Number 20, Ribbinska huset ("House of Ribbing") or Schantzka huset ("House of Schantz"), are occasionally said to symbolize the heads decapitated by the Danish king in 1520. The house was, however, built no later than 1479, when it appears in historical records. The former of the names refers to the councillor Bo Ribbing who gave the property to Schantz in 1627, who added the stones the following year.

The block on Number 14-16 is named after Æsculapius, the son of Apollo and the demigod of medicine, which reflects the presence of the "Raven Pharmacy" (Apoteket Korpen) at this address for more than 300 years. While still present on Västerlånggatan just a few blocks away, the pharmacy was originally settled on Stortorget in 1638 when the court pharmacist Philip Schmidt offered not only medicine at this address, but also assorted sweets and mulled wine. In the alley Solgränd, the initials of the pharmacist in 1764 and his wife are still found on the wall. The pharmacy was relocated to its present address in 1924.
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source: wikipedia

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Additional Photos by Daniel Draghici (dkmurphys) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3771 W: 83 N: 5603] (45873)
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