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Architecture in Oslo may at first seem dull. Unlike for instance its Swedish counterpart, Stockholm, downtown Oslo has only scattered monumental buildings where in particular the Parliament-Palace axis (upper part of Karl Johan Street) has a certain Parisian grandeur. The charm of Oslo can also be found in the affluent inner-city suburbs of for instance Frogner and Fagerborg as well as above St.Hanshaugen park. Northern Europe has a distinct wooden house tradition. Wooden houses are not allowed downtown, but these charming houses can be found in large numbers in villa suburbs such as Bygdøy and Holmenkollen, or former workers' areas such as Rodeløkka, Kampen, Vålerenga, Damstredet, Hellerud or Telthusbakken. Oslo also has many exciting building projects and a huge part of the city's waterfront will in a few years have changed.

 

Royal Palace, (T-Nationaltheateret, tram 13-19 to Slottsparken. Located at the end of Karl Johans gate, the city's main avenue.). Tours inside the palace are arranged in summertime, this year from June 21. The tickets for the tour must be bought in advance from a post office. If there are vacant spots in a tour, they sell the remaining tickets at the Palace itself to people waiting in line who don't already have tickets. Don't count on getting tickets on the spot unless you are quite ahead in the line since a lot of people buy them at the post offices. There are about 2 tours in English on weekdays.

 

University of Oslo, (between the Royal Palace and Stortinget on the Karl Johans gate). The building is currently only housing the Faculty of Law, the rest of the university is situated at Blindern. Occasional concerts will be arranged in the magnificent Universitetets Aula, housing 11 of Edvard Munch's pictures. The room is only occasionally open for the public, but is one of the most magnificent rooms in all of Norway.

 

Opera House, (all trams and buses to Jernbanetorget or Oslo S then take the footbridge from the seaside exit of Oslo central station, next to the Airport Express train terminal). Norway's first entry into the top league of modern architecture. Awarded the 2008 prize for best cultural building at the World Architecture Festival in Barcelona, and the prestigious Mies van der Rohe award for best European contemporary architecture in 2009, its appearance is stunning. Shaped as a glacier or a ship, the amazing building seems to float by the inlet Bjørvika, giving a stunning impression. Climb the building on the marble slopes (summer only) for a unique Oslo view. Be careful when temperatures go under 5 degrees as the roof may be very slippery! The main highway, which used to pass just between the Opera and Oslo Central Station, is now moved to a sub-sea tunnel under Bjørvika. The huge road crossing Bispelokket, which has marred the seafront of Oslo for 50 years, is currently being dismantled

 

Oslo Cathedral, (tram 11-17-18 or bus 37 to Stortorvet, between T-Jernbanetorget and Stortinget). is none too impressive, but recently refurbished. After the terrorist attacks on Oslo in July 2011, the square Stortorget, in front of Oslo Cathedral, became the centre for afterthought and compassion. The square was fully covered by roses, greetings and mourning messages for weeks. edit

Kirkeristen. The old bazaar surrounding the church is now used by artisans and craftsmen, and holds a couple of cafes and restaurants.

City Hall (Rådhuset), (T-Nationaltheateret, tram 12 to Rådhusplassen, bus 70-74 to Vika, located by the waterfront, with Fritdjof Nansens plass on the inland side). Open to the public, with a spectacular main hall featuring huge murals with typical Nordic social democratic themes. There are also some displays of historical artefacts in the side rooms upstairs. This is where the Nobel Peace Prize is presented to the winner every year. Although there is no public lift, disadvantaged visitors only have to ask and they can use the staff lift.

 

Akershus Festning, (Tram 12 to Rådhusplassen, bus 60 to Bankplassen). A medieval castle and fortress built in 1299, located close to the city center. There are several excellent viewpoints to the Oslofjord and surrounding areas. The stone walls create an exciting atmosphere, and you are free to roam around in tight passages and staircases. There are two museums here, both related to Norwegian military history.

 

Holmenkollen, (T-bane 1 towards Frognerseteren.). The ski jump located on the west side of Oslo, which was rebuilt for the World Ski Championships in 2011. It first opened in 1892 and has been re-built many times since then. It had more than 1 million visitors every year, and was one of the biggest tourist attractions in Norway. There is also the oldest ski museum in the world, opened in 1923. Walking and mountain bike riding are popular activities here during the summer.

 

Stortinget (Parliament), (located on the main street, Karl Johans gate, in the city center (T-Bane, any line, Stortinget station, exit Egertorget). It has free guided tours in English and Norwegian lasting about 45 minutes, which assemble outside the back door of the Parliament (on Akersgata). There is a limit of 30 people per tour, so it is advisable to be there at least 10 minutes prior to the start of a tour

 

 

 

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