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This is Oslo's main street, a pedestrian area leading from the central station to the palace. Visitors can watch the world go by at one of the street's numerous watering holes or simply follow the crowds down the road, past street vendors and entertainers, past the parliament, national theatre, Grand Hotel and the university. With hundreds of different shops, the street is also a Mecca for shopaholics. The park between the parliament and national theater is turned into an ice-rink in the winter.
The Parliament building houses the Norwegian Storting (Parliament) and dates back to 1866. The magnificent building was designed by the renowned architect Emil Victor Langlet. The facade is a beautiful blend of styles, mainly inspired from Italy and France. Visitors can enroll themselves for a guided tour of the entire structure. Private tours for groups can also be arranged upon request. The tours last approximately one hour. Admission is free.
Kvadraturen is the heart of Christian IV's town Christiania, built after the town of Oslo was burnt down in 1624. The city was not renamed Oslo until 300 years later. The sculpture on Christiania Torv square symbolizes the King's words, when he decided 'The new town will lie here'. A statue of the King himself can be found on Stortorvet. Kvadraturen offers fine dining at Statholdergaarden, Mediterranean dishes at Celsius or dine in modern elegance at Brasserie Hansken.
Båtservice Sightseeing organizes fantastic sightseeing excursions by boat and coach. You can do anything from a mini-cruise on the fjord (50 minutes) to all-day combination tours by boat and coach, covering most of Oslo's attractions and landmarks. There is a tour for everyone! All tours depart from Pier 3 in front of the Town Hall. The season goes from May to September. The price varies depending on the tour. See their website for further details on times and prices, or call for a brochure.
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.
Situated within the walls of the beautiful Akershus Fortress in an over 300 year-old, half-timbered house, this permanent exhibition takes you through the history of the Norwegian resistance movement during World War II. Small models of many of the encounters, particularly during 1940, along with many authentic photos, equipment, and documents from the war-torn era are on display as well. Guided tours for groups are available if booked ahead of time.
The old workshops on the seafront beneath the town hall, belonging to Akers Mekaniske Verksted, have been converted into one of Oslo's most popular shopping and nightlife areas, Aker Brygge. There are places to eat and shop, art galleries, theaters, an IMAX and a regular cinema. A walk along the waterfront is a great way to spend a fine summer afternoon. Take trams 10 or 15 or walk from Akershus fortress past a children's play area and numerous ice-cream stalls.
This handsome building on Drammensveien near the Royal Palace is the home of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Every year the Committee selects a Peace Prize winner, based on the criteria that Alfred Nobel (the Swede who left a fund for an annual Peace Prize) specified in his will. Up to 1946, the Peace Prize was awarded at the Institute, but today, the award ceremony takes place in Oslo's Town Hall. The ceremony takes place on 10 December every year, to mark the day of Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.
Originally founded in 1993 at Dronningens Gate, this modern museum features a series of temporary and permanent exhibitions by Norwegian and international artists from the post-war era. The permanent collection includes Anselm Kieferen's sculpture, The High Priestess/Zweistromland, a monumental bookshelf with a good collection of books made of lead, and one of Damien Hirst's best-known pieces, Mother and Child Divided. Towards the end of 2012, Astrup Fearnley Museum shifted its location to Oslo's Tjuvholmen neighborhood. Call ahead for more information.
Norsk Folkemuseum, the open-air museum that has been giving visitors a peek into a life-sized past for over a century, contains more than 150 authentic buildings from different regions. The buildings date from as far back as medieval times, including the 13th-century Gol Stave Church. The permanent exhibition features sections on handicrafts, traditional clothing and the culture of the Sami people. A souvenir shop, cafe and restaurant are located on the grounds.
Bygdy is a peninsula packed with leisure activities for everyone. Many of the city's museums are situated here, and you can easily spend the whole day visiting them. The Vikingskiphuset are a must. There are also great beaches, which are excellent for swimming and sun-bathing. You could see the King's farm, or visit a small castle used as a summer residence by a previous king. Alternatively, take a pleasant stroll among the many magnificent houses of this affluent residential area (home to former prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland). The best way to get there in the summer is by ferry from the pier in front of the Town Hall. Bus number 30 will get you there all year round.
The former studio of sculptor Gustav Vigeland's lesser-known brother, Emanuel, is now a combined museum and mausoleum. The windowless, church-like room plays tricks on your eyes when you enter, but after a few minutes an impressive mural covering the walls and ceiling will unravel, a truly awe-inspiring representation of entire human life.