Oslo Sentrum or City Centre is the main borough or Downtown Oslo and has a little bit of everything. Kvadraturen is the name of the historical centre in Oslo. The area between Akershus Fortress and Karl Johans gate, Jernbanetorget and Egertorget got its name because of the rectangular street pattern. This is where king Christian IV founded Christiania after the big fire in 1624. Some of Oslo’s oldest buildings are located in Kvadraturen, and and now the area can boast a number of fine art galleries and museums.
Oslo, the capital of Norway and the land of midnight sun, is one of the most beautiful cities in the Nordic. Where mountains rise beyond the fjords, where the contemporary exists with the history, where future and past mingle together. Oslo is synonymous with green forests, ski jump on mountains, tulip gardens, museums, business institutions, the dinner cruises, efficient public transport system, and last but not the least, the harbours and the fjords of Norway. Read more about the Oslo Fjords > OsloFjord
For a business traveller, for whom the best time for exploring the visited place is after work hours, Oslo in summers are a favourable destination as the daylight stays till late evenings, extending almost till the midnight. No wonder the place is called the Land of Midnight Sun, look out of the window at midnight and you can still see the city skyline lit up and a blue sky.
The best way to explore a place is to be on foot and like Norwegians who have been historically known for walking on mountains. They have been so used to walking, that when they built city architectures, one was encouraged to walk on them. This disregards the generally prohibited ‘Do not walk on the roof‘ signboards seen in other cities. Walking on the roof of a building could land you in trouble but in Oslo, they designed the Oslo Opera with a roof designed for visitors to walk on the roof.
Starting from the Oslo Central Station (Sentralstasjon) walk through Karl Johan’s gate up to the Royal Palace and take the waterfront route through Akker Brygee and back to Opera house and you have covered most of the interesting part of the city.
The first place is Oslo Cathedral, the main church for the Church of Norway and was restored and renovated. Today the cathedral is also used for public events by the the Norwegian Royal Family and the Government.
Hit up Karl Johans Gate, the main street that leads to the Royal Palace. It’s colourful with flowers, lined with trees and coffee shops, and one of the main shopping areas.
The incline of the street gives a fantabulous view of both ends, the Royal Palace on one side and the City central on the other.
The Royal Palace at the top of Karl Johans gate is home to the royal family. The building is in neo-classical style with a facade of stuccoed brick and surrounded by the Royal Palace Park on all sides. The change of guards
On the way to the Palace, you get to see the Stortinget– the Parliament building, seat of the Norwegian National Assembly
Walk though the Eidsvolls plass (“Eidsvoll Square”) a square and park located west of between the Parliament Building, and the National Theatre. It has been referred to as “the National Mall of Norway”. In summers, tulips and fountain decorate the place and in winters, the park turn into a ice skating rink.
The National Theatre is Norway’s largest theatre and is an architecturally beautiful old building. One of the favorites of Norwegian stage artists and dramatists only renowned international producers are allowed to stage their plays here.
The University of Oslo situated across the street to National Theatre is Norway’s largest and oldest university and leading academic institution.
Having walked up to the palace, take the road across the National Gallery that houses the famous painting The Scream, which was made even more famous when it was stolen a few years ago. Keep walking toward the harbour, to reach City Hall, the city’s administrative body and the seat of the City Council. The main hall here is where the Nobel Peace Prize is given.
The Noble Peace Centre is located right across the street is a museum to showcase for the Nobel Peace Prize and the ideals it represents. Read more here > Noble Peace Center
Walk around the waterfront and come across Akershus Castle at the corner. The castle is a medieval fortress and is tuned into a renaissance palace.
Walk along Akershusstranda, the promenade that leads along the fjord back to the city centre ending near Oslo Opera. The waterfront has several attractions and opportunities for a tasty break with restaurants offering everything from seafood to pizza.
Akershusstranda is filled by the sound of a wide range of languages when thousands of curious cruise passengers step off the the many cruise ships that arrive every week. The south part of Akershusstranda is the main quay for cruise ships arriving Oslo.
Popular wharf area along the inner harbours is Aker Brygge, a vibrant commercial district, with large open-air areas and indoor shopping streets. Aker Brygge was the site of a shipyard, which today is a upmarket commercial, leisure and shopping district. The pedestrian area along the waterfront is lined with restaurants with great views of the marina and the Oslo Fjord.
Return to the Norwegian Opera and Ballet (Oslo Opera House) to see the building beautifully lit up and standing tall along the horizon, standing guard to the city. Read more here > Subtle, Simple and Minimalistic – The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet
In the water is cool glass sculpture called She Lies, created by an Italian artist, meant to symbolize the changing face and renewal of Oslo’s waterfront.
Standing strikingly different to the old city landscape is the newly developed business district – the Barcode with distinctive buildings resembling lines of a barcode. Nice read > Yesterday to Tomorrow – Barcode, Oslo
Did You Know ?
Oslo is also called Kristiania or Christiania – One can easily be confused by the capital’s different names through the years. The town was originally called Oslo. In the Middle Ages after a dramatic fire in 17th century, king Christian IV decided that the town be rebuilt in the area below the Akershus Fortress, and he changed its name to Christiania. From 1877 the name was spelled Kristiania, and in 1925 it was changed back to the original name, Oslo.