Surrounded by woodland and fjords, Oslo is like being in a whole other world. The easy-going city and Norwegian capital is "like many cities in Europe" a delightful mixture of old and new. Viking pride remains strong, while a rapidly growing cosmopolitan vibe attracts visitors eager to experience some of the world's best restaurants, nightlife, cafes and music. Unlike most cities, Oslo also caters to energetic adventurers; kayaking, cycling, skiing, ice-skating, sailing and hiking opportunities are all available within the city limits.
Start your Norwegian adventure with a trip back in time at Oslo's Viking Ship Museum. Over a century ago, archaeologists uncovered a Viking ship at the nearby Oseberg fjord. The well-preserved ship is now the focal point of the museum and one of the most visited sites in the country. Stretching over 70 feet long, the ship dates from the ninth century AD and features an elaborately carved stern and prow. Two similar ships constructed around 890 AD are also on display, in addition to artifacts discovered within the vessels.
Another great place to explore the city's history is the centrally-located Akerhus Fortress. Construction of the fortress ended in the 14th century, and it withstood multiple sieges from its strategic location at the cusp of the headland. The fortress was later transformed into a royal Renaissance castle by King Christian IV before falling into disrepair in the 17th and 18th centuries. Restoration began in 1899, and today the fortress is one of the most visited places in Oslo. Visit in the afternoon to watch the changing of the guards, and take a walk through history on the extensive grounds.
Norwegian artist Gustav Vigeland dedicated his life to creating sculptures of bronze, cast iron and granite. More than 200 of his works are displayed at Oslo's Veigeland Sculpture Park, a monumental artistic creation that carries a human message enjoyed by over a million visitors from around the world each year.
To experience another fine collection of art from both Norway and around the world, visit Oslo's National Gallery. The museum houses Edvard Munich's famous painting “The Scream” in addition to paintings by Manet, Cezanne and other masters. Founded in 1837, the museum also highlights Norwegian impressionists and works by international sculptors.
One of the city's best kept secrets is the Emanuel Vigeland Museum, constructed in 1926 by the artist himself. Vigeland originally created the building to house his own artwork but later changed his mind and instead planned to use it as his own tomb. The windows were covered and an urn was placed above the door to hold his ashes. The bizarre museum now acts as both a mausoleum and gallery, featuring colorful frescoes that dramatically convey the course of human life from birth until death.
The nightlife in Oslo centers around a lively music scene that comes alive at friendly bars, clubs and concert venues. Dance until the wee hours at the Blaa as international DJs spin everything from electronica and house to soul and hip hop, cozy up in a booth at the intimate Underwater Pub, where every Thursday is opera night or get in line early to see major stars play at Smuget, one of the largest bars and discos in the city. No matter where you go, sneak outside for a peak at the night sky; you just may be lucky enough to get a glimpse of the hypnotically beautiful Northern Lights.
Oslo Geographical Location
Oslo is located to the southwest border between Sweden and is partially comprised of island groups.
The population of Oslo is now approximately 1,443,000.
Bokmal Norwegian and Nynorsk Norwegian are the official languages of Norway although Sami is an official language in six municipalities.
Oslo Predominant Religion
86% Church of Norway
1% Roman Catholic
2% Other Christian
The government of Norway provides financial support to religious aid organizations and there as been a steady influx of Christian immigrants from nearby countries in recent years.
The Norwegian Kroner is the official currency of Norway.
Snow and rainfall is common in Oslo and generally the weather is warm during the winter with occasional heat waves.
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