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A visit to the Akershus Fortress is a must if you are keen to discover history of the city of Oslo. The building of Akershus Castle and Fortress was commenced in 1299 under king Hakon V. This medieval castle was completed during the 1300s. Due to its strategical location at the very end of the headland, the fortress withstood numerous sieges throughout the ages. During the reign of King Christian IV (1588-1648), it was modernised and renovated into a Renaisssance style as a royal residence. Guided tours of the fortress are available to the public in summer, and start at the Fortress Visitor Centre. Guided tours for groups are also available. The fortress area is a popular venue for major events, including concerts, public holiday celebrations and ceremonies.
The Oslo Cathedral was constructed in the year 1697. It is the main church for the Church of Norway Diocese of Oslo, and is used for weddings and funerals by the Norwegian Royal Family and the Norwegian Government. Till date it has been rebuilt numerous times. The towers of the cathedral were reconstructed during 1850 and its interior was renovated soon after the end of Worl War II. The large ceiling murals were painted by Hugo Lous Mohr between 1936 and 1950, and the stained glass windows are by Emanuel Vigeland. The chapel on the south side was designed by Arnstein Arneberg. "The bazaar halls" around the cathedral were built in between 1841-1858. The Oslo Cathedral was initially known as Our Saviour's Church.
The City Hall is one amongst well known landmarks of Oslo. This imposing square building, built of concrete faced with brick, was designed by Arnstein Arneberg and Magnus Poulson and has two towers, one of them adorned with a huge clock face. One of the towers houses the 38 bells that can be heard chiming throughout the harbor area. Along with its fascinating facade with its sculptures and reliefs, the interior is also worth a visit, boasting a rich fresco created by Henrik Sorensen, Per Krohg, Edvard Munch and other famous Norwegian artists.
National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design
The National Museum of Oslo is a must-see, and in fact incorporates a number of exhibition venues across the city, so be prepared to spend time exploring them. The venues include the National Gallery (Norwegian artists from the 19th Century to the present, including J. C. Dahl and Edvard Munch); the Museum of Contemporary Art (modern Norwegian and international artists); the National Museum: Architecture (historical themes through to contemporary architecture); and the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design (design and crafts through the ages).