Top Historic Sights in Oslo, Norway

Explore the historic highlights of Oslo

St. Edmund's Church

St. Edmund"s Church was built in 1883-84, and is home to the Norwegian congregation of the Church of England. Queen Maud used to visit this church, and there is a bust of her in the church, which otherwise is adorned with stained glass windows. The church has modest size. While churches often dominate their surroundings and towers stretches over neighboring buildings, is this church modestly squeezed between larger ...
Founded: 1883-1884 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Vigeland Sculpture Park

The Vigeland Park is the world's largest sculpture park made by a single artist, and is one of Norway's most popular tourist attractions. The park is open to visitors all year round. The unique sculpture park is Gustav Vigeland's lifework with more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and wrought iron. Vigeland was also in charge of the design and architectural layout of the park. Gustav Vigeland was born in Mandal in ...
Founded: 1939 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Akershus Fortress

Akershus Fortress or Castle is a medieval castle that was built to protect Oslo, the capital of Norway. The first construction on the castle started around the late 1290s, by King Haakon V, replacing Tønsberg as one of the two most important Norwegian castles of the period (the other being Båhus). It was constructed in response to the Norwegian nobleman, Earl Alv Erlingsson of Sarpsborg’s earlier attack ...
Founded: 1290s | Location: Oslo, Norway

Oslo Cathedral

Oslo Cathedral, formerly Our Savior"s Church, is the main church for the Oslo bishopric of the Church of Norway, as well as the parish church for downtown Oslo. The present building dates from 1694-1697. It is the third cathedral in Oslo. The first, Hallvards Cathedral, was built by King Sigurd I of Norway in the first half of the 12th century, and was located by the Old Bishop"s Palace, some 1.5 kilometers east ...
Founded: 1694-1697 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Viking Ship Museum

The main attractions at the Viking Ship Museum are the Oseberg ship, Gokstad ship and Tune ship. Additionally, the Viking Age display includes sledges, beds, a horse cart, wood carving, tent components, buckets and other grave goods. Many fully or nearly fully intact Viking ships are on display. Its most famous ship is the completely whole Oseberg ship. In 1913, Swedish professor Gabriel Gustafson proposed a specific bui ...
Founded: 1926 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Norwegian Folk Museum

Norsk Folkemuseum, the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, is a museum of cultural history with extensive collections of artifacts from all social groups and all regions of the country. It also incorporates a large open air museum with more than 150 buildings relocated from towns and rural districts. Norsk Folkemuseum was established in 1894 by librarian and historian Hans Aall (1867-1946). It acquired the core area of ...
Founded: 1894 | Location: Oslo, Norway

National Gallery

The National Gallery houses Norway's largest public collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures. The museum's central attractions include Edvard Munch's The Scream and Madonna and paintings by Cézanne and Manet. The museum's exhibitions present older art, with principal emphasis on art from Norway. The permanent exhibition shows highlights from the collection and national icons from the romantic period until the mid ...
Founded: 1842 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Royal Palace

The Royal Palace was built in the first half of the 19th century as the Norwegian residence of King Charles III, who also reigned as king of Sweden and otherwise resided there, and is the official residence of the present Norwegian monarch. The crown prince resides at Skaugum in Asker west of Oslo. The palace has 173 rooms. Until the completion of the Royal Palace, Norwegian royalty resided in Paleet, the magnificent tow ...
Founded: 1825-1849 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Kulturkirken Jakob

Kulturkirken Jakob (Jakob Church of Culture) was designed by architect Georg Andreas Bull and built in 1880. The altarpiece of the building year by Eilif Peterssen and shows the adoring shepherds. In the porch hangs a relief of the Archangel Michael. The church, with 600 seats, served as the parish church of Jakob parish until 1985, when it was closed by the due to building restoration. The church was reopened in February ...
Founded: 1880 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Munch Museum

Munch Museum (Munch-museet) is an art museum dedicated to the life and works of the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. The museum was financed from the profits generated by the Oslo municipal cinemas and opened its doors in 1963 to commemorate what would have been Munch's 100th birthday. Its collection consists of works and articles by Munch, which he donated to the municipality of Oslo upon his death, and additional works do ...
Founded: 1963 | Location: Oslo, Norway

St. Olav's Cathedral

St. Olav's Cathedral is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oslo. At the time of construction, this church, being built at Hammersborg, near the graveyard of Our Saviour, was located in the countryside outside the then city of Oslo. The work was funded by private donations and fundraising abroad, the most generous individual donor being Queen Josephine, who was a Catholic herself. The first mass of the church ...
Founded: 1896 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Trinity Church

The Trinity Church (Trefoldighetskirken) is one of the largest churches in Oslo (1000 seats). The church itself is in the raw red brick, while the vaults, arches and small columns have gray scale color. The nave is octagonal with a Greek cross superimposed, with the choir in the apse, shallow transept and rectangular entrance flanked by two slender, octagonal bell towers. A central dome rises above the church. The Trinit ...
Founded: 1858 | Location: Oslo, Norway

St. Mary's Church Ruins

St Mary's Church (Mariakirken) was the royal chapel and had an important political role, as its provost from 1314 also was Chancellor of Norway. It was built originally in 1050 AD, but rebuilt and expanded several times. Final additions made in the 1300s. In the beginning of the 14th century, it was the third largest church in the country, and in the Middle Ages it was the royal chapel. The church was set on fire by Swedi ...
Founded: 1050 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Grønland Church

Grønland Church was designed by Wilhelm von Hanno and consecrated in 1868. The structure is of brick, in neo-Romanesque style, and has 800 seats.
Founded: 1868 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Paulus Church

Paulus Church was consecrated in 1892. The church is made of brick with a weak front running cross-arms and has about 500 seats. It is inspired by German Gothic style and has a high narrow tower above the entrance, which faces east. The church was designed by the architect Henrik Bull in 1889, and restoration of the church were made in 1917-18 and in 1972. The Church"s altarpiece is in the brown-stained pine with go ...
Founded: 1892 | Location: Oslo, Norway

St. Hallvard's Cathedral

St. Hallvard"s Cathedral (Hallvardskatedralen), the former Oslo Cathedral, was the earliest cathedral in Oslo. The cathedral was built at the height of the Old Town market square Oslo during the early 12th century, and was used as a church until about 1655. Besides being the bishop"s seat and religious center of eastern Norway for about 500 years, the cathedral was the coronation church, royal wedding church, ch ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Oslo, Norway

Aereslunden Cemetery

Vår Frelsers gravlund was created in 1808 as a result of the great famine and cholera epidemic of the Napoleonic Wars. Its grounds were extended in 1911. The cemetery has been full since 1952. The cemetery is known primarily for Æreslunden, Norway"s main honorary burial ground. Famous Norwegians such as Edvard Munch, Henrik Ibsen, Henrik Wergeland, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, Richard Nordrak, Chr ...
Founded: 1808 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Church of the Cross Ruins

Church of the Cross was a small medieval parish church for the northern part of the Old Town of Oslo. The ruin was rediscovered in 1922 and is now a part of the Ruin Park containing the ruins of the church and the greater St. Hallvard's Cathedral. There is no definite information about when the church was built. The church is not mentioned in the sources of the fighting in Oslo in 1240 between King Haakon IV and Duke Sku ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Oslo, Norway

Old Aker Church

Old Aker Church (Gamle Aker kirke) is Oslo's oldest remaining building and the only remaining church from the Middle Ages. It is assumed that it was built around the year 1150. It is a stone church, built as a three-naved Roman-style basilica. The church has been pillaged and ravaged by fire several times. The oldest part of the surrounding churchyard dates back to the 12th century. The church has a baroque pulpit and ba ...
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Vålerenga Church

Vålerenga Church was built in late 19th century, and was consecrated in 1902. The architects were Heinrich Jürgensen and Holger Sinding-Larsen. The church is built in the Neo-Gothic and National Romantic styles, like many of the Norwegian churches built during this period of time. Vålerenga church is special architecturally because of its asymmetrically placed church tower, one of Norway"s first of i ...
Founded: 1902 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Gamlebyen Church

Gamlebyen Church is a private church, belonging to Oslo University Hospital and is also called Oslo Hospital"s Church. It is leased to the Diocese of Oslo of the Church of Norway and serves as the parish church for the Gamlebyen parish in Oslo. Up to 1925 it had the name Oslo Church, but when the city changed its name from Kristiania to Oslo, the church got the present name. The present church building is listed in 1 ...
Founded: 1796 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Frogner Church

Frogner Church was designed by the architect Ivar Næss (1878–1936) and built in 1907. The Church"s main facade is made of granite, while the secondary facades against courtyards are made of brick. The church is integrated into a row of houses and apartment buildings. A chapel associated with the church was built in 1937–39 by the architect Johan Meyer. The Gimlehøyden district surrounding th ...
Founded: 1907 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Fagerborg Church

Fagerborg Church was completed in 1903 and has 480 seats. The church is in neo-Gothic style with elements of Jugend style and built in granite from Skjeberg. The church was redecorated inside for the fiftieth anniversary in 1953. On this occasion, it was also done new chandeliers by architect Harald Hille. The pulpit and altar are both designed by the church architect. Stained glass is made of imperial and royal court st ...
Founded: 1901-1903 | Location: Oslo, Norway

St. Clement's Church Ruins

St. Clement"s Church or Klemet"s Church was one of the Roman Catholic parish churches of the old Oslo. It was a stone church with a tower, and it was one of the very few churches we know with the double-nave floor plan. Along the middle axis of the choir there were three powerful pillars that held the roof. The church went out of use after the Protestant Reformation, and expect it rather quickly was in ruins. T ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Uranienborg Church

Uranienborg church was designed by Balthazar Lange and was consecrated on 22 December 1886. The building is given a sober Gothic feel and is decorated with stained glass by the artist Emanuel Vigeland. In 1930 the interior received its present form by architect Arnstein Arneberg. The church has 1020 seats.
Founded: 1886 | Location: Oslo, Norway

St. Margaret's Church

St. Margaret"s Church was a stone church built in the 13th century. It is now a ruin, but the ruin underwent a restoration in 1934, and is today the best preserved medieval buildings next to the Old Aker Church. The church is named after Margaret of Antioch.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Oslo, Norway

Hovedøya Abbey Ruins

Hovedøya Abbey was a Cistercian founded on 18 May 1147 by monks from Kirkstead Abbey in England on Hovedøya island, and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Edmund. A church dedicated to Edmund already stood on the island, and the monks took this over as the abbey church, modifying it to meet Cistercian requirements. The rest of the monastery follow a modified Cistercian building plan, to take into ...
Founded: 1147 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Grorud Church

Grorud church is a cruciform church from 1902. The building is made of local Grorud Granite stone and has 500 seats. Stone walls" uneven appearance, which gives the wall a live appearance, because the stones varies between roughly hewn uneven surface, and smooth surface. The smooth cut stones are centered around the corners and windows. Minister and landed on Linderud, Christian Pierre Mathiesen, gave the altar and b ...
Founded: 1902 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kromeriz Castle and Gardens

Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).

It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.

After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.

UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.

Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.