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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.
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.
In 1849 Hamburg's great city planner Alexis de Chateauneuf won the competition to build a church for the Congregation of the Trinity. The building has a cruciform plan, crowned at the center with a copper-plated dome and a lantern at the apex. The Church of the Trinity was consecrated in 1858 and the entrance staircase was added in 1883. Inside you will find an altarpiece depicting Christ being baptized and a marble baptismal font. The church was re-consecrated in 1958 and after a thorough renovation was re-opened to the public in 1997.
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.
Many of the cathedral's contents date back to 1697, the year the building was consecrated. Alexis de Chateauneuf, the architect of the Trefoldighetskirke, restored the cathedral between 1849 and 1850, and further work was done on the structure from 1948 to 1950. The cathedral is located close to Stortorget in the center of Oslo. King Harald and Queen Sonja were married here, as were Crown Prince Haakon Magus and Mette-Marit. The cathedral is also used for concerts and the crypt house exhibitions. Admission is free.
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.
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.
One of the most important municipal buildings in the Norwegian capital, the Oslo Town Hall can be spotted standing next to the iconic Akershus Fortress on the famous Rådhusplassen that overlooks Oslo's picturesque harbor and waterfront. Its soaring twin towers, measuring 216 feet (66 meters) and 206 feet (63 meters), make it one of the more unique edifices in the city. Completed in 1950, the building was designed by the renowned Norwegian architects Magnus Poulsson and Arnstein Arneberg, and built primarily using red bricks that give it a distinctive hue. Some of the building's main attractions include Henrick Sorensen's wall decoration, the astronomical clock, and the north side entrance. The city hall has had the privilege of hosting the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize ceremony every year since 1990.
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.
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.