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OSLO, NORWAY – PART SIX

September 6, 2015

OSLO,  NORWAY

FROM MAY 26 TO JUNE 9, 2015  LEONARD EPSTEIN AND JANELLE BURGESS, TRAVELED THROUGH FINLAND AND NORWAY    –    PART SIX

Oslo Is the capital and largest city of Norway, and the third largest city of Scandinavia. Oslo is also the demographic, economic and political center of Norway.

The history of the city can be traced back over 1,000 years. Oslo was founded in 1048, by the king Harald Hardråde. The city became capital of Norway around 1300, but lost its privileges during the Danish-Norwegian union from 1348 to 1814. In 1624, a fire devastated old Oslo, and the city was moved some kilometres west to gain protection from the fortress at Akershus. The city was renamed Christiania, after the Danish King Christian IV, a name that remained until it was officially renamed on January 1st 1925 to Oslo. Traces have been found close to [Ekeberg] indicating settlement as far back as 10,000 bc.

After the devastating 1624 fire, old Oslo (around the mouth of river Aker) was largely abandoned and the ruins converted to farmland. Today, a few church ruins are still visible under the Ekeberg hill (across the water from the new operahouse, between road E18 and the railway). Beyond these ruins there is virtually nothing remaining of medieval Oslo. Ironically, the new city Christiania was established outside the borders of Oslo, and ‘Oslo’ remained the name of the small, surviving settlement outside the new city borders. During Christiania’s rapid expansion in the 19th century, as the capital of a new state, the site of the original Oslo (old Oslo, or ‘Gamlebyen’) was included in the city. Due to the rapid inclusion of surrounding agricultural areas in the 19th century, a large number of remains from the city’s farming history is still clearly visible in place names and farm houses. The remains of historical pastures can be found at parks, St. Hanshaugen for example is now used as a recreational park for Oslo’s residents.

Oslo, with its approximately 453 square kilometers, is one of the largest capitals in the world by area. Most of this is forest, making Oslo a city in close contact with the nature surrounding it.

Oslo is situated in an amphitheatre-like setting, with the city centre in the bottom close to the Oslofjord, and residential areas stretching uphill from there in all directions. Behind the residential areas, the forested area of Marka (Nordmarka, Østmarka, Lillomarka) extends, with flora and fauna that is quite extraordinary for a city of this size. Moose are commonplace (easily spotted in winter), and the whole of the capital is part of Norway’s wolf reserve (a breeding couple is thought to have settled in Østmarka). However, polarbears are non-existing in Norway proper, even some might think so, due to old stories about Norway.

The Oslofjord is a lake in the Skagerrak bay, stretching inland from the North Sea. In the reverse direction, the inlet runs towards Øresund and the Baltic Sea. Oslo has an impressive archipelago of islands, which in summer becomes the city’s favoured playground.

The inner city centre is bounded by Oslo Central Station (Oslo S) to the east, the Royal Palace (Slottet) to the west and the seafront (from Akershus fortress to Aker brygge) to the south. It is fairly compact and easily walkable. Karl Johans gate, the mostly pedestrian main street connecting Oslo S and the Palace, is the main artery of downtown Oslo. However, several of the neighbourhoods close to the centre hold interesting sights and entertainment offerings, so to explore these you should make use of the city’s comprehensive and modern public transport system.

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TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, (Rådhuset),

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.

SOME PHOTOS OF THE TOWN HALL , OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO - ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK

TOWN HALL, OSLO – ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO - MURAL BY HENRIK SORENSEN

TOWN HALL, OSLO – MURAL BY HENRIK SORENSEN

TOWN HALL, OSLO - MURAL BY HENRIK SORENSEN (DETAIL)

TOWN HALL, OSLO – MURAL BY HENRIK SORENSEN (DETAIL)

TOWN HALL, OSLO - MURAL BY HENRIK SORENSEN

TOWN HALL, OSLO – MURAL BY HENRIK SORENSEN

TOWN HALL, OSLO - MURAL BY HENRIK SORENSEN

TOWN HALL, OSLO – MURAL BY HENRIK SORENSEN

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PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PIECES OUTSIDE OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PIECES OUTSIDE OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD  PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HAL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PIECES OUTSIDE OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HALL

PAINTED, CARVED WOOD PANELS ON EXTERIOR OF THE TOWN HALL

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TOWN HALL EXTERIOR SCULPTURE AND BAS RELIEF

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

BAS RELIEF, TOWN HALL, OSLO

BAS RELIEF, TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO - SCULPTURE

TOWN HALL, OSLO – SCULPTURE

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MURALS AND TAPESTRIES IN THE TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO - PAINTING ON THE CEILING

TOWN HALL, OSLO – PAINTING ON THE CEILING

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

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PAINTINGS OF THE ROYAL FAMILY

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The Norwegian monarch

The Norwegian monarch is the monarchical head of state of Norway, which is a constitutional and hereditary monarchy with a parliamentary system. The Norwegian monarchy can trace its line back to the reign of Harald Fairhair and the previous petty kingdoms which were united to form Norway; it has been in unions with both Sweden and Denmark for long periods.

The present Sovereign is King Harald V, who has reigned since 17 January 1991. The heir apparent is his only son, Crown Prince Haakon. The Crown Prince undertakes various public ceremonial functions, as does the King’s wife, Queen Sonja. The Crown Prince also acts as regent in the King’s absence. There are several other members of the Royal Family, including the King’s daughter, grandchildren and siblings. The Royal House is a branch of the Schlewig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg branch of the House of Oldenburg; originally from Schleswig-Holstein in Germany, the same royal house as the Danish and former Greek royal families.

Whilst the Constitution of Norway grants important executive powers to the King, these are almost always exercised by the Council of State in the name of the King (King’s Council, or cabinet). Formally the King appoints the government according to his own judgement, but parliamentary practice has been in place since 1884. Constitutional practice has replaced the meaning of the word King in most articles of the constitution from the king personally to the elected government. The powers vested in the Monarch are significant, but are treated only as reserve powers and as an important security part of the role of the Monarchy.

The King’s functions are mainly ceremonial. He ratifies laws and royal resolutions, receives and sends envoys to foreign countries and hosts state visits. He has a more tangible influence as the symbol of national unity. The annual New Year’s Eve speech is one venue where the king traditionally raises issues dealing with negative aspects in society. The King is also High Protector of the Church of Norway (the state church), Supreme Commander of the Norwegian armed forces and Grand Master of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav and the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit.

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TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO

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PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE CEREMONY IN OSLO

TOWN HALL, OSLO - PHOTOGRAPH - Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo

TOWN HALL, OSLO – PHOTOGRAPH – Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo

TOWN HALL, OSLO - PHOTOGRAPH - Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo

TOWN HALL, OSLO – PHOTOGRAPH – Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo

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SCULPTURES IN OSLO

SCULPTURES IN OSLO, NORWAY

SCULPTURES IN OSLO, NORWAY

SCULPTURES IN OSLO, NORWAY

SCULPTURES IN OSLO, NORWAY

SCULPTURES IN OSLO, NORWAY

SCULPTURES IN OSLO, NORWAY

SCULPTURES IN OSLO, NORWAY

SCULPTURES IN OSLO, NORWAY

SCULPTURES IN OSLO, NORWAY

SCULPTURES IN OSLO, NORWAY

SCULPTURES IN OSLO, NORWAY

SCULPTURES IN OSLO, NORWAY

SCULPTURES IN OSLO, NORWAY

SCULPTURES IN OSLO, NORWAY

SCULPTURES IN OSLO, NORWAY

SCULPTURES IN OSLO, NORWAY

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STREET SCENES OF OSLO

OSLO, NORWAY

OSLO, NORWAY

OSLO, NORWAY - NATIONAL THEATER

OSLO, NORWAY – NATIONAL THEATER

OSLO, NORWAY

OSLO, NORWAY

OSLO, NORWAY

OSLO, NORWAY

OSLO, NORWAY - NOBEL INSTITUTE

OSLO, NORWAY – NOBEL INSTITUTE

OSLO, NORWAY

OSLO, NORWAY

OSLO, NORWAY - OPERA HOUSE

OSLO, NORWAY – OPERA HOUSE

AKERHUS FORTRESS, OSLO - Akershus Fortress, is located in the city center by the Oslo Fjord. The building of Akershus Castle and Fortress was commenced in 1299 under king Håkon V. The medieval castle, which was completed in the 1300s, had a strategical location at the very end of the headland, and withstood a number of sieges throughout the ages. King Christian IV (1588-1648) had the castle modernised and converted into a Renaissance castle and royal residence.

AKERHUS FORTRESS, OSLO –
Akershus Fortress, is located in the city center by the Oslo Fjord.
The building of Akershus Castle and Fortress was commenced in 1299 under king Håkon V. The medieval castle, which was completed in the 1300s, had a strategical location at the very end of the headland, and withstood a number of sieges throughout the ages. King Christian IV (1588-1648) had the castle modernised and converted into a Renaissance castle and royal residence.

PHOTOS:

LEONARD EPSTEIN

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