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A symbol of Norwegian opulence, the Slottet og Slottsparken or the Royal Palace and its imperial gardens have been the centerpiece of Oslo's sweeping cityscape since 1849. Constructed in the Neoclassical style, the lavishly-decorated palace has been the primary residence of Norwegian monarchs. Designed by celebrated Norwegian architect Hans Linstow, the palace features a grandiose facade with Corinthian columns. A magnificent statue of a horse-mounted King Charles III stands high on a pedestal on the square in front of the palace, completing the regal setting. The annual National Day parade in Oslo, that passes the Royal Palace on its way is one of the few times when the royal family makes a public appearance to greet the proud Norwegians on the happy occasion.
Norway's oldest botanical garden is open year-round and creates beautiful surroundings for the university museums in the area. Nature herself is master of ceremonies throughout the year, whether you are visiting the systematic section, the Rock Garden or the Fragrant Garden. In the greenhouses there are tropical plants and more. Inside the Botanical Museum you can enjoy the exquisite botanical drawings by an Norwegian artist. Atop the hill a nice café awaits you. The other museums in close proximity to the garden are the Mineral-geologisk Museum, Paleontologisk Museum and Zoologisk Museum. Admission is free.
Spreading out over 44.5 hectares (110 acres), Frognerparken is one of the city's largest and most visited public parks. The park was originally laid out as part of the Frogner Manor, which is now located on the park's southern fringes. The expansive park is beautifully laid out, with lovely walking trails, a large playground for children and even an outdoor pool, offering something for everyone. Highlight of the place however is the Vigeland Park, showcasing nearly 200 sculptures by the noted sculptor Gustav Vigeland. A slew of cafes and restaurants within the park promise great people-watching opportunities as you sip your coffee and soak in the summer warmth.
Vigeland Park is the world's largest sculpture park dedicated to the work of a single artist, and an ode to one man's obsession with the human form. The park displays over 200 sculptures fashioned from granite, bronze and wrought iron by the Norwegian artist, Gustav Vigeland, created over a period of 20 years from 1924 to 1943. In fact, the park itself was designed by the famed sculptor and is actually a mammoth installation in Frogner Park. Vigeland's work varies from depictions of humans engaged in everyday tasks, to more symbolic and abstract works like The Monolith, a 14.12-meter (46.33-foot) high sculpture composed of 121 human figures intended to represent the human desire to reach out to the divine. Other notable sculptures include The Wheel of Life and The Fountain. Although each is a masterpiece in its own right, the interplay with the layout and architecture of the park creates a whole that is more amazing than the sum of its parts. Today, Vigeland Park is one of Oslo's most popular attractions, visited by over one million tourists each year.