Constituting a county and a municipality, Oslo serves as the capital of Norway and is also the country’s largest city. An important seat of the Government and economy of Norway, the city was founded around 1000 AD by King Harald III. Today, Oslo is an important city and a flourishing hub for Norwegian trade, banking, industrial and shipping industries. The city is home to some of the world's largest shipping companies, shipbrokers and maritime insurance brokers and was a pivot city of the Council of Europe and the European Commission intercultural cities programme. At an elevation of 23 meters, the city spreads on an area of 8,900 km2 land and houses 648,000 residents in its municipality, 951,581 in urban areas and 1,502,604 in the metro. Norwegian, Pakistani, Swedish, Somali, and Polish constitute the majority of the city’s population and Norwegian or Sami is the official language of the people.
Gardermoen Airport, located in Ullensaker at a distance of 47 km from the city center of Oslo is the city's major international airport and majority of the flights land at this airport. Rygge Airport and Torp Airport, the latter being 110 km from the city also serves Oslo. The location of the city in the Northern latitude causes a lot of variation in the city’s daylight which may be more than 18 hours during the summer to only 6 hours in mid-winter season. The city experiences warm weather during the summer and July is the warmest month with temperature not rising above 20 °C. Winter in Oslo is harsh with temperature dipping to negative marks on many days. January is the coldest month of the year and best avoided. Summer months from April to September are the best time for a holiday in Oslo. Oslo Jazz festival in August, Oslo International Church Music Festival, Oslo World Music Festival, Oslo Chamber Music Festival and Norwegian Wood Rock Festival are some of the major international festivals celebrated in Oslo.
Akershus Fortress is the major attraction in Oslo, built in the 13th century. It is a charming medieval castle and is a part of Museum of the Norwegian Resistance. The next tourist spot in your tours in Oslo should be at the Oslo Cathedral which is known for its decorated bronze doors. The ceiling paintings by H. L. Mohr, the Baroque pulpit and altar and the stained glass by Emanuel Vigeland are also worth sighting. City Hall is major landmark in Oslo famed for it a rich fresco created by Henrik Sørensen, Per Krohg, Edvard Munch and other famous Norwegian artists. Aker Brygge is also a popular sightseeing place in the city. Lined with fine shops, restaurants, and cozy year-round patio bars, Oslo'a Aker Brygge area is the heart and soul of Oslo.
National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design (popular exhibition venue), Royal Palace ( impressive 173-room but it is not open for public), Vigeland Sculpture Park (the largest park of its kind in the world and displays 650 sculptures in bronze, granite and wrought iron of Gustav Vigeland), Natural History Museum (having Norway's largest natural history collection), Botanical Gardens (Zoological museum containing collection of dinosaur skeletons), Munch Museum, Oslo Opera House, Ultima Contemporary Music Festival and Festival of Chamber Music are some of the major places that draws huge number of tourists.
Eating and Shopping
Norwegian cuisine is the most popular cuisine options available in the city. Using the raw materials readily available in Norway and its mountains, wilderness and coastal areas, game and fishes are the most commonly consumed item. Kjøttkaker, Svinekoteletter, Lapskaus, Stekte pølser, Pinnekjøtt and Sodd are the traditional meat dishes while Rakfisk, Torsk, Lutefisk, Stekt fisk and Sursild are popular sea food delicacies. Owing to the extreme cold weather Cured meat, along with fruits are vegetable are also largely consumed. United Bakeries, Mogador, East Kitchen, Oscars Pizza, Falafel and kebab, Oslo Mekaniske, Vegetable shop in Smalgangen, Rice Bowl and Café Q are some of the most popular places to enjoy a budget meal. The city also has fine dining restaurants for those looking to dine in style.
From shopping malls to international boutiques, everything is available to make even the most pernickety shopper happy. But when in Oslo, tourists are advised to go beyond the contemporary and shop for ethnic stuff from the local city markets. Karl Johans gate which is a pedestrian-friendly street is a major shopping destination. Some of the major shopping places in the city are - Tanum (book store), GlasMagasinet (high end shop for housewares and glassware), Norway Designs (impressive inventory of glassware, ceramics, and pottery), Steen & Strøm (high quality fashion items), Oslo City (city's largest and busiest shopping mall), Bærums Verk (old ironworks village boasting of 60 galleries, craft shops, boutiques and bookstores), Byporten Shopping (newest shopping center) and Senterkontoret Aker Brygge (having the city's finest shops, eateries and galleries)
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Airports near Oslo
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