On my first full day in Oslo, after buying my Oslo Pass (which I would highly recommend as it gives you free entry to 30 museums and free travel on public transport for set periods of time, among other things) I headed over to Akershus Fortress.
The Fortress is an important part of Oslo, not just for the obvious historical reasons but because it is still a military site, the place where official functions and state occasions take place and house of the Royal Mausoleum.
It’s believed that construction of the castle, within the Fortress, started around the 1290s. It has survived all the sieges it has been involved in and has never been taken by a foreign enemy, though it did surrender to Nazi Germany (more of that to come in a later post).
Akershus has also been used as a prison, and the Visitor Centre had an exhibition on that topic when I visited.
The Fortress walls make for an excellent vantage point to see the city – although it was overcast and raining when I visited – and gives a good idea about just how strategically valuable the fortress was.
The Castle itself provides a very informative audio guide to use as you walk through the building which highlights the importance of the site to modern Norway. You can even head down to the dungeons where prisoners were kept and to the Royal Mausoleum; in the below photo are the resting places of King Haakon VII and Queen Maud and King Olav V and Crown Princess Martha.
There were a lot of impressive rooms in the Castle, but one area that particularly stood out was the church, which is still in use today.
Another impressive room, possibly for the sheer size of the table alone, is the Romerike Hall. It gained its name after lightning struck the building in 1527, destroying much of it. Farmers from Romerike were tasked with rebuilding it and so the Hall was named after them. This would be the room where important state occasions take place.
I’d definitely recommend a visit; it gives a really interesting insight into the shaping of modern Norway and has some lovely rooms to explore.
As ever, more photos can be found at my flickr here.