Discover some of Oslo’s most important history at this medieval fortress and castle overlooking the city’s fjord approach. Built in the late 1290s by King Haakon V to protect the city from invasion, the complex has been in continuous use ever since, including as a prison and military site. A quick stroll around the free museum—not to mention the Norwegian Armed Forces Museum and Resistance Museum—is enough to transport you back in time. Watch out for the smart young soldiers patrolling the grounds. They’re not there to entertain tourists—the fortress is still an active military site.
By David Nikel, AFAR Local Expert
Sentinel of the city of Oslo, this medieval fortress overlooks the fjord to the south and the city to the north. Just a block from my room a the Grims Grenka, it was also my first stop on my recent walking tour of Oslo. Strolling the grounds of the fortress, I could feel the voices of history speaking from the stones, telling tales of battles, political intrigue, and yes, executions. Though Norwegians say the fortress never fell in combat, it was handed over to the Nazis during Germany's occupation of the country, a period that saw executions on the fortress grounds. Following the liberation, Norwegian traitors were also executed here, including Vidkun Quisling. Today the grounds are quiet, and the fortress is home to a number of cafes, museums (including Norway's Resistance Museum) and quirky pieces of artwork on the ground.
By Joshua Samuel Brown, AFAR Local Expert
0150 Oslo, Norway
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