Oslo, Norway: Rediscovered
After living in Oslo for over two years, I have not really allotted so much time discovering the Norwegian capital. Since then, I was quite busy earning a living for myself and my family, but never did I get a chance to be a tourist in a whole day in Oslo. Perhaps, I was still quite uncertain whether Oslo is my workplace or my second home. Moreover, I would associate Oslo with the challenges I have experienced, together with the difficult situations that have provided me lessons and made me stronger as a person.
So I decided to embark in a journey within the city as a tourist, not as a resident. With my camera, I will rediscover the city that made me a more independent person. With this, I would not just appreciate more Norwegian history, but also its culture, people and tradition.
This is the largest of the inner islands in the Oslofjord. This is considered a botanical and historical paradise for the Norwegians. The unique flora is characterized by endangered species of plants that only thrive in the island. Interestingly, insects also is present in the island, making it unique within the cold Scandinavian area where insects naturally do not survive. Moreover, a fox is said to be living in the island. The fox scares some tourists, but it has been observed to be stealing food from the tourists.
The area is considered small, but it draws several tourists especially during the summer season, when locals bath and dock their boats providing a unique view of the Oslofjord, the City hall, Akerbrygge and the Akerhus castle.
Ruins of a monastery is still present in the island. It was destroyed by the Danish king, who in the 15th century ruled both in Norway and Denmark, as part of the Reformation era, converting the country from Catholicism to Lutheran Protestantism. Part of the stones from the monastery was used to expand the Akerhus castle, just on the opposite side of the Oslofjord.
A military camp is still existent in the area. This was used to protect the Norwegian capital from the German invasion. During the defeat of Norwegian forces during the World War 2, the island became a military camp of the Nazi Germans.
The city hall of Oslo is almost over 65 years of age. It has been completed after the World War 2. Before the city officials have been appointed by lords occupying the Akerhus Festning. Nowadays, this has been also the site of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize, which makes it symbolic, not just for the people of Noway, but for the whole world.
The former seat of Norwegian seat of power, the Akerhus fortress has evolved from a medieval castle to a besieged castle during Swedish raids to freedom symbol during the German occupation to the present day military installation and resting place of the Norwegian monarchs.
The fortress provides a scenic view of the Oslofjord and Hovedøya. Some museums and commercial establishments are found in the area. The castle is perhaps one of the favorite tourist attraction in the Norwegian capital.
A centrally-located cultural jewel between the Castle and the Parliament, the National theater has been the site of theatrical plays and exhibitions. In its early years, the theater was privately-funded until the 1920's when the government started supporting the cultural establishment until to this day.
This street is the avenue connecting the Royal Palace, Stortinget, Nationaltheatret and Oslo Central Station. Many establishments are found along the street and the statue of King Charles III John, a Swedish King is erected at the end of the street in front of the Royal Palace. The Swedish king died during the time the street was completed, and when Norway was still in union with the stronger neighboring Swedish nation.
The Parliament Building was finished during the period of the union of Sweden and Norway. Although Sweden has been dominant in the union, Norway has the power to legislate laws, subject to the approval of the Swedish king. Today, there are 169 seats in the Norwegian Parliament with coalitions with political parties are needed to form the government.
The Church of Trinity is the part of the Lutheran Church of Norway. This Neo-Gothic church is one of the largest octagonal church in Norway. This was designed by German architects and is situated near the government square and the Deichmanske main library.
This library is over 200 years old, and is considered the library of Oslo municipality. Before it was the library of a nearby school and thereafter opened for the public. The Neo-Classic library is located nearby the government square, and was heavily damaged following a bomb attack in 2011. In the next few years, the new library will be transferred to Akerbrygge near the famous Oslo Opera house.
This is the park in the middle of the government square. The government buildings along the park is currently not in us, after the bomb attack in 2011. Some of the buildings have been demolished and are planned to be demolished soon. Interestingly, the area was the site of the old military hospital before the government used it for offices in the executive and judicial purposes. Until now, the Norwegian government is still discussing what to do with the building whether a new government square will be erected, or just to leave it as it is today.
Part of the Little Vatican of Oslo, the St. Olav Cathedral is the largest catholic church in the Norwegian capital, dedicated to the former Norwegian king and now saint Olav. The church is over 100 years and is situated near an old cemetery in the central area of Oslo. Interestingly, the Catholic diocese of Oslo is expanding as more Catholic immigrants live in Oslo, mostly coming from South American countries, Poland and some Mediterranean countries, and the Philippines.
This old cemetery is the most centrally-located, which has been full since the fifties. Many notable Norwegians are buried here, including the first Prime Minister Frederik Stang, the second most performed dramatist after Shakespeare Henrik Ibsen, and the painter Edvard Munch. Before the cemetery has been created as a result of a great famine and cholera epidemic in the early 18th century after the Napoleonic wars. There are also graveyards dedicated to those who sacrificed their lives during the Nazi German occupation of the Norwegian capital.
This medieval Roman-style church is the oldest existing building in Oslo. The diocese itself is believed to have been erected in the year 1080 during the Viking Age, making the church a millennium old. The church has been damaged by fire several times and the oldest part of the church is at least 800 years old. The church is situated on top of a hill, near the cemetery. Today, the church is considered a Norwegian Cultural Heritage Site.
St. Hanshaugen Park
This park is over 150 years old, and was first developed with the help of banker in the 18th century, before it was taken over by the Oslo municipality. The park has an artificial creek and a pavilion on the Festplassen square on top of the hill. On the summer time, an annual local music festival is held on the park.
Lastly, after one day of roaming around the city, I realized the city is more beautiful than I thought. I had a misconception before that I could discover the city in just one day. The list I presented here did not include some famous parks and recreational areas. This is perhaps the start of more rediscoveries. I vow to continue to do the task of rediscovering my second home, Oslo, Norway.