History of Oslo

History of Oslo



The history of Oslo begins in the Middle Ages- the first urban settlement is estimated to have appeared probably around 1000 BC, although the author Snorri Sturluson wrote in his book ’’Kings’ Sagas’’ that Oslo was established by Harald Sigurdsson III in 1048. The medieval town of Oslo was located in the Ekeberg hillside, on the eastern side of the mouth of the river Bjorvik. The city was the residence of King Haakon V (1299-1319) who set in motion the construction of what is now known as Akershus Fortress. Haakon V was the first king whose permanent residence was in this very town.
Since 1536, Norway was in alliance with Denmark. However, due to the rather inferior position in that union, Norway was poorly developed in many aspects which later happened to be one of the reasons for the termination of the union. Later, Norway established a union with Sweden- that was the time when Norway’s stable growth began.
After the catastrophic fire of 1624, Danish king Christian IV decided that the town needed to be reconstructed under Akershus, so that the fortress would appear to be the defense system. It was then that the town was named Christiania.

May 17th- What came as a consequence of the Napoleonic Wars was the fact that in 1814, Denmark was obliged to cede the territory of Norway to Swedish king Charles XIV John. On May 17th in the same year, Norway received its first constitution, whereas Christiania received the official status of the capital city. May 17th is a very important date in Norwegian history and has been celebrated even to this day as a national holiday- people come out on the streets to see the royal couple, and Norwegian flags are placed on the windows of flats, houses, stores and restaurants. Everyone is dressed solemnly, and usually everyone has a certain feature of the Norwegian flag on their clothes. It surely is an experience-worthy day, especially when it comes to seeing how such a historical event is celebrated nowadays. King Charles XIV John initiated the construction of the King’s Palace in 1825. The palace was done in 1848 under the reign of King Oscar, whereas the Parliament building in the gate of King Charles was done in 1866.

The Industrial Age began on the banks of the Akerselva River in around 1850. Between 1850 and 1900, the population increased from 3000 to 230000, mostly due to the influx of workers from rural regions.
Today- Oslo, the capital city of Norway, has 900000 inhabitants, including those who live in the suburbs. It covers the area of 454 square kilometers. Despite the fact that Oslo is renowned for its modern look, there are some parts of the city in which you can feel the history and the spirit of the past.
Did you know?

  • The first university in Oslo was established in 1811.
  • The etymology of the name Oslo is not clear enough; -lo means port, whereas -os has multiple meanings: parthenon, confluence or hillside.
  • Oslo is the only independent city-district in the country; it is the administrative seat of Akershus District which surrounds Oslo and covers its suburbs as well.
  • Oslo is known among Norwegians as the city of tigers- Tigerstaden. Around hundred years ago, the poet Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson described Oslo in his poems as a dangerous place using the metaphor of tiger- on the basis of that, the city center got the statue of a tiger. Today, Oslo is one of the safest places in the world.
  • Swedish chemist and inventor Alfred Nobel established prizes for the progress in the fields of chemistry, literature, peace, physics, physiology and medicine. All of these prizes, apart from the Nobel Peace Prize, are awarded in his native Sweden. Nobel’s explicit wish was that the Peace Prize should be awarded in Oslo.
  • Winter Olympics were held in Oslo in 1952.
  • During the progress of Norway in 19th century, a lot of famous artists and writers left their mark in Oslo: Henrik Ibsen, Edward Munch, Knut Hamsun and Sigrid Undset.

Tourist destinations in Norway:


Oslo is the third largest city in Scandinavia and the largest in Norway. It is the cultural, commercial, scientific and maritime capital of Norway. Oslo is located on the southwest coast of the Scandinavian Peninsula. Oslo is located in the bay, where some beautiful islands stand out, which are home to amazing museums that visitors should not miss. he islands are a favorite among the inhabitants, especially during the summer season. Ferries connect visitors with the beautiful islands where numerous music concerts are performed each year during summer season.

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Trondheim is the first capital of Norway, a city with a history of over 1000 years, founded by Viking King Olaf Tryggvason in 997. Archeological research has helped to uncover many aspects of medieval Trondheim life. The remains uncovered during excavations are believed to have been churches and palaces, but there are very few historical sources from the medieval era to further explain the history of the city. What we know for certain is that the city was the nation’s capital, serving as the place where coronation ceremonies were held for Norwegian Kings. Trondheim was, and still is, a famous pilgrimage site.

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