Historic Sites in Norway | Travel Guides | History Hit

Historic Sites in Norway

History Hit

24 Nov 2020

There’s a host of top Historic Sites in Norway to visit and among the very best are the Norwegian Royal Palace, Oslo Cathedral and Akershus Fortress. Other popular sites tend to include the Resistance Museum, Oslo Historical Museum and Urnes Stave Church.

We’ve put together an experts guide to Norwegian cultural places, landmarks and monuments, with our top places to visit as well as a full list of Historic Sites in Norway, which shouldn’t be ignored if you have the time.

What are the best Historic Sites in Norway?

1. Norwegian Royal Palace

The Norwegian Royal Palace was begun on 1 October 1825 and inaugurated in 1849. Intended as a home for King Carl Johan, it would never serve this purposes as it was only completed after his death. It was designed by Hans Ditlev Franciscus Linstow.

Over the years, the Norwegian Royal Palace has undergone a series of alterations and changes, mostly to modernise it for living purposes. Guided tours of the palace last around an hour and the changing of the guard takes place daily.

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2. Oslo Cathedral

Oslo Cathedral is a 17th century Dutch Baroque style church in a cruciform shape. Whilst the ground works for Oslo Cathedral began in 1692, it was consecrated on 7 November 1697 and originally named the Church of Our Saviour.

Before Oslo Cathedral, the city had had two previous cathedrals, one from the 12th century, the second from the first half of the 17th century.

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3. Akershus Fortress

Akershus Fortress has been a vital stronghold and royal residence in Oslo since the 14th century. Also known as Akershus Castle (Akershus Slott), it was begun in 1299 under King Hakon V and would go on to play an important defensive role, surviving several sieges. 

The castle boasts everything from the former living quarters of medieval Danish-Norwegian royalty to dank dungeons and also the castle church, now a military church. Akershus Fortress is also home to the Armed Forces Museum and Norway’s Resistance Museum.

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4. Norway Resistance Museum

The Norway Resistance Museum is dedicated to the country’s national history during World War II. In particular, it looks at the period of occupation between late 1930 and 1945, displaying a range of exhibits from original items and documents to posters, films to photos.

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5. Oslo Historical Museum

The Oslo Historical Museum houses a diverse set of historical collections ranging from prehistoric Norwegian exhibits to those from East Asia and Africa. The museum includes a fascinating array of antiquities, with items from a range of periods in Norway’s past from the Stone Age to medieval times including the era of the Vikings. 

Beyond this, two of the main exhibits are the Norwegian coin collection covering some 1,000 years of history and the Ethnographic section including some Egyptian mummies. Other collections include those dedicated to the Arctic, south and north America as well as Africa, East Asia, China, Japan and Korea. From weapons to thrones, religious items to celebratory ones, there’s a variety of things to see.

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6. Urnes Stave Church

Urnes Stave Church is an excellent and oldest surviving example of this genre of medieval wooden architecture, a fact which has made it the only stave church to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Built from 1150, Urnes Stave Church was the private church of an affluent family.

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7. Austratt Fort

Austratt Fort is a World War II fort built by occupying forces at the time. Located just beyond Trondheim, Austratt Fort was part of the Atlantic Wall, a series of fortifications intended to protect against Allied landings.

Today, Austratt Fort is open to the public who can tour its engines rooms, mess hall, 200-strong soldiers’ accommodation and the site’s main highlight, its vast gun turret and impressive triple gun with 38,000 metre-range.

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Image Credit: Wikimedia / CC

8. Selje Monastery

Selje Monastery is a picturesque ruined Benedictine monastery in Norway. Dating back to the early 12th century, Selje Monastery was dedicated to St. Sunniva, the country’s only female patron saint.

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9. Norwegian Museum of Cultural History

The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History tells the story of the country’s cultural heritage over the centuries. A mix of indoor and outdoor exhibits, the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History looks at everything from pharmaceutical history to architecture, folk music to art.

The outdoor aspect of the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History is one of the largest of its kind in Europe, with over 155 buildings representing houses from around the nation and from a variety of historic periods. Inside, the exhibits at the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History showcase aspects of Norwegian life from the 16th century onwards.

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10. Kvalvik Fort

Kvalvik Fort is a well preserved World War II fort and onetime submarine station in Norway. In fact, Kvalvik Fort is considered to be one of the best kept fortifications of its kind.

Open to the public, Kvalvik Fort has a range of items and weapons on display with plenty of information on its history.

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