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Oslo's main library was established more than 200 years ago, when Carl Deichman bequeathed his vast collection of books to the city. Today, the Oslo Public Library houses over one million volumes. You will find the library building not far from the Trefoldighetskirken and the Goverment Offices. It is within easy walking distance of the city center. Supplementing the main building, there are 16 more specialized branches of the library scattered throughout the city.
Located in the heart of Oslo, Oslo Reptilpark is a peculiar place. You can see more than 80 reptiles of all shapes and sizes. Snakes, tarantulas, fish and iguanas are are all there! Established in 2002, this park has been delighting children with their creatures for over a decade. Every Tuesday is feeding day for the reptiles, which is a great event for kids and adults alike.
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.
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.
Considered to be one of the masterpieces of Neo-Gothic architecture in Norway, the Oscarshall slott, or palace, can be found on the peninsular protrusion of Bygdøy in the western part of the city. This tribute to the aesthetic sense of Norwegian royalty was built by Danish architect Johan Henrik Nebelong, under the orders of King Oscar I and Queen Josephine, and was completed in 1852. The castle was sold to the Norwegian government in 1863 by King Charles IV, and since 1881 it has been a popular attraction for tourists and architecture enthusiasts. Also operating as a museum, the castle's interiors are a testament to the talents of Norway's fine artists, who had decorated its rooms. See the website to know more.
One place where you cannot miss going to whilst in Oslo is Bygdø Kongsgard. This royal house with spectacular architecture dates back to the over a thousand years. Originally the property of the Cistercian monastery on Hovedøya, it was later purchased by King Haakon V of Norway and subsequently passed through numerous royal hands. The royal and guided tours are held every 20 minutes and lasts for approximately an hour, for the public in the summers.
Snuggled in the northeastern outskirts of the Norwegian capital's bustling cityscape, the usually peaceful neighborhood of Holmenkollen transforms into a vibrant tourist hub with the arrival of snow. Thanks to its crown jewel, the Holmenkollbakken, believed to be one of the oldest ski jumps in the world, the area is visited by skiing enthusiasts from all over Norway. Another popular attraction in the locale is the famous Ski Museum, that exhibits the region's love of the sport. The neighborhood is also the central point for visiting the Nordmarka, a lush green forest reserve.
Holmenkollbakken on the west side of the city is famous for the enormous ski jump that can be seen from just about everywhere in Oslo. The most popular sports arena in Norway, Holmenkollen also contains the world's oldest Ski Museum and an exciting ski-simulator (on which visitors can try out the Holmenkollen ski jump themselves!). Holmenkollen hosts a variety of winter sports events, culminating in the annual ski festival in March. Even those not interested in winter sports should not miss the chance to enjoy the spectacular panoramic view of the city.
Located only a short drive away from downtown, Oslo Winter Park (previously Tryvann Winter Park) is one of the best Alpine ski centers in the Oslo region. The 18 slopes and seven lifts offer a variety of activities including skiing, Telemark skiing, snow-skating and snowboarding. There are jumps, a fun-box and an Olympic standard super-pipe and half-pipe for snowboarders and a series of runs of different standards for skiers. The park also has its own ski school, cafe and equipment rental facility . Please visit the website for more information.
Located at the northwest Drobak sound, Oscarsborg Fortress will surely take you by surprise. It is named after the famous King Oscar after his visit in the 1855. The interesting history it carries with it, dates back to the 1800's; the oldest buildings built in 1846 and 1853. The main idea of building this fortress was protection from the possible attacks. This fortress also features a wide number of entertainment venues, exhibitions, art galleries, restaurants as well as spas and recreation activities for children. Call ahead for detailed information.