Akershus Fortress

Akershus Fortress main
View of Akershus Fortress
Photo by: Pudelek, Creative Commons

A visit in Norway will not be complete without a tour of the Akershus Fortress, one of the country’s national symbols. It was built more than 700 years ago, a span of time that made the place a rich reservoir of Norwegian history. Its construction started in the late 13th century to protect Oslo, the capital, from outside invaders. In the early 17th century, the fortress was remodeled into a renaissance castle. Throughout most of its history, the fortress (or at least a section of it) was also used as a prison particularly during the time when it was occupied by the Germany army in World War II.

At present, the fortress remains the realm of the military, but it is accessible to the public from 6 am to 9 pm. Joint quarters of the Norwegian Defense Staff and Ministry of Defense are housed in the eastern section of the fortress. Among the places to visit in the area are the museum of the Norwegian Armed Forces and that of the country’s resistance movement during the Second World War. Likewise worth a look is the Royal Mausoleum where the remains of several Norwegian kings and queens, as well as other members of the royal family, have been interred. Today, the Norwegian government oftentimes holds important state functions and official occasions at the Akershus Fortress.

During the peak tourist season from mid-June to Mid-August, guided tours are available. Overlooking the harbor and within walking distance from many first-class hotels, the fortress is an ideal way to start a sight-seeing tour of Oslo. Tourists can enjoy al-fresco refreshments right at the Akershus grounds at two cafes. One has even a license to sell alcoholic drinks, in addition to hot meals and coffee, truly a great way to take in the sights at this Norway landmark.

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