Oslo, Norway

As well being a major cause for the defeat of King Harold at the Battle of Hastings (The Battle of Hastings), King Harald Hardråda also has fame for the founding of Oslo in 1048.

Today, Oslo enjoys one of the highest standards of living of any city on earth. It's one of the top 10 cities in the world in area, its suburbs having spread rapidly in recent decades. This suburban sprawl has the advantage of gathering in the green outskirts, making the city one of the world's most densely forested.

Links

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oslo


30 Nov 2008 - Oslo (Viking Ship Museum), Norway

For me at least, the Viking Ship Museum is the highlight of any trip to Oslo, almost on a par with the Wasa in Stockholm. These Viking ships beat the Wasa into second place though because these represent a very different time in Europe and are almost 800 years older. Despite their great age, the ships and artifacts are in amazing condition. These Viking craft are extraordinarily well designed and constructed and were the mode of transport for some of the great migrations in the early middle ages. These ships were the type of craft that transported William the Conqueror's army from Normandy to England to beat Harold at Hastings. They carried Vikings abroad to trade, settle and raid churches and towns.

The museum is currently situated next to the Norwegian Folk Museum so if you get here early enough then you will be able to cover both attractions in one go.
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Oslo - Viking Ship Museum

Oslo - Viking Ship Museum

The Viking Ship Museum (in Norwegian Vikingskipshuset - The Viking Ship House) houses the Viking ships from Tune, Gokstad, and Oseberg. The museum displays the Viking Age Oseberg ship, Gokstad ship, Tune ship, and finds from the Borre mound cemetery and elsewhere.

In addition to the three ships, the museum contains a good exhibit on the Vikings.
Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Osberg ship I

Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Osberg ship I

This ship was buried in 834 AD and is festooned on prow and stern with elaborate dragon and serpent carvings. It measures 22m and required 30 oarsmen. The burial chamber held the largest collection of Viking Age artefacts ever uncovered in Scandinavia but had been looted of all jewellery.

In the viking age it was customary to bury the dead in boats. the dead would be placed in a burial chamber on the ship.
Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Osberg ship II

Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Osberg ship II

The dead were placed with food and drink, horses and dogs, and useful and decorative items. Most graves are found to have been robbed but the ship found in Sutton Hoo is unique in that this grave was not looted and many of its treasures are now in a museum.

The Viking age lasted from about 800 AD to 1050 AD and during this period the Norsemen were the lords of the seas. They roamed as far as North America, Iceland, Greenland and the Mediterranean and Black Sea.
Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Bow carvings, Osberg ship

Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Bow carvings, Osberg ship

It's amazing to think that these intricate carvings have survived almost 1200 years buried in the ground.

Some Norsemen settled in Northern France in what is called Normandy. The locals called these Normans, derived from their name of Norsemen.
Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Unearthing the Osberg ship

Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Unearthing the Osberg ship

This old photo shows the Osberg ship being excavated. I included this to show that the intricate wood carvings that can be seen on this ship are actually the original markings as I did wonder just how much of the ship has been recreated. It seems that the answer is 'not very much'.
Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Stern view of the Osberg ship

Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Stern view of the Osberg ship

The 22m long ship was built of oak. The number of oar holes indicate that it was rowed by a crew of 30 men. There were no seats so the oarsmen probably sat on their own wooden ship's chests. The oars could be drawn in when the square sail was raised. Only the upper two rows of side planking extended above the water line. It is thought that this would have been used for short journeys in calm waters.
Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Gokstad ship

Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Gokstad ship

The sturdier 24m long Gokstad was built around 890 AD and is the finest remaining example of a Viking longship. Unlike the Oseberg, the burial chamber had been completely looted and few artefacts were uncovered.
Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Bow of the Gokstad ship

Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Bow of the Gokstad ship

This, the largest of the ships, had room for 32 oarsmen. The side planking of this ship is higher and when sailing the oar holes could be sealed. This ship would have been capable of sailing the high seas.
Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Tune ship

Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Tune ship

The Tune ship contained a high ranking male but unfortunately this and the grave gifts have not survived due to the poor preservation conditions. Like the Gokstad ship, the Tune also dates from around 900AD.
Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Ship burial chamber

Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Ship burial chamber

Each of the Viking ships had a wooden burial chamber such as this that was located on the deck, behind the mast. These tent like structures have been postulated to resemble the tents used on land. Real tents were also found aboard the ships.
Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Objects for the afterlife

Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Objects for the afterlife

This fantastically well preserved cart has detailed and ornate carvings like the ships. It boggles the mind to think how old this is yet to be able to see the incredible detail as readily now as when the first eyes came to rest on it in 900AD.
Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Animal head post I

Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Animal head post I

The most stunningly detailed carvings which have survived are these animal head posts. They were all found with the ship from the Osberg burial.
Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Animal head post II

Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Animal head post II

Three different artists created these posts and this can be told by recognised by both stylistic and technical details. So I'm told.
Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Animal head post III

Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Animal head post III

The posts were orignally equipped with a short, horizontal handle so that they could be carried in processions or secured to a wall.
Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Sledge for the afterlife

Oslo - Viking Ship Museum - Sledge for the afterlife

Three highly decorated sledges were found in the Oseberg ship. Each was constructed the same way: a separate upper frame tied to the chassis with rope. The corner posts, shaped as animal heads, bind the sides of the frame. A detachable pole allowed the sledge to be drawn by two horses.

29 Nov 2008 - Oslo (Norwegian Folk Museum), Norway

Last week was my first visit to Belgium and this week also saw another first with Norway being the target. Oslo in a weekend is challenge especially if it is cold and wet - an energy sapping condition made worse with a soggy map. Despite the inclement weather, much was done but with Oslo having so much to offer, there was inevitably much that was missed and I would have liked to have had a crack at being the latest to steal Edvard Munch's The Scream.

What was taken in though was the Norwegian Folk Museum which is more interesting than it sounds and the Akershus Castle and Fortress amongst other sights.
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Oslo - Norwegian Folk Museum I

Oslo - Norwegian Folk Museum I

Norway's largest open air museum and one of Oslo's premier attractions is this, the Norwegian Folk Museum. The museum includes more than 140 buildings, mostly from the 17th and 18th centuries, gathered from around the country, rebuilt and organised according to region of origin.
Oslo - Norwegian Folk Museum II

Oslo - Norwegian Folk Museum II

Paths wind past old barns, elevated stabbur (raised storehouses) and timbered farmhouses with sod roofs sprouting flowers.
Oslo - Norwegian Folk Museum III

Oslo - Norwegian Folk Museum III

Many of the buildings are also date in style from the Medieval era. Each of the timbered buildings has a panel indicating which century it dates from.
Oslo - Norwegian Folk Museum IV

Oslo - Norwegian Folk Museum IV

More elevated stores and a fine view of the earthen roofs.
Oslo - Norwegian Folk Museum V

Oslo - Norwegian Folk Museum V

The exhibition hall near the main entrance includes displays on Norwegian folk art, historic toys, national costumes, domestic and farm tools.
Oslo - Norwegian Folk Museum VI

Oslo - Norwegian Folk Museum VI

This section is a reproduction of an early 20th century Norwegian town and includes a village shop where a few period type items can be bought.
Oslo - Norwegian Folk Museum VII

Oslo - Norwegian Folk Museum VII

In this section of the museum the buildings also have authentic interiors complete with furnishings. Whilst the older style buildings can be entered, these are just empty shells.
Oslo - Akershus Castle and Fortress I

Oslo - Akershus Castle and Fortress I

Dominating Oslo's harbour front are the medieval castle and fortress, probably Oslo's architectural highlight. It was originally developed in 1299 but damage and the progression of technology has resulted in modification through the centuries. This is one of two entrances to the fortress.
Oslo - Akershus Castle and Fortress II

Oslo - Akershus Castle and Fortress II

The castle inside the fortress was renovated into a Renaissance palace in the 17th century although from the outside it still remains medieval. Miserable dungeons can still be found whilst in the upper floors, sharply contrasting lavish state rooms and banquet halls can be seen. This picture is not one of the castle.
Oslo - Akershus Castle and Fortress III

Oslo - Akershus Castle and Fortress III

Looking across the harbour from the walls, the tower on the left houses the Norwegian Resistance Museum covering the dark years of life under German occupation in World War II. This is considered a must see for WWII history enthusiasts.
Oslo - Akershus Castle and Fortress IV

Oslo - Akershus Castle and Fortress IV

The view from the fortress walls towards the harbour front.
Oslo - Narvisen Outdoor Ice Rink

Oslo - Narvisen Outdoor Ice Rink

When it is cold enough you can skate here for free. On this particular there was a show with a large number of skaters going through a long choreographed routine. I have never seen live skating before and I was taken with the grace of the skaters and the ease that they made skating look.
Oslo - Norwegian Parliament, the stortinget

Oslo - Norwegian Parliament, the stortinget

Built in 1866, Norway's parliament building is right in the city centre, opposite the Narvisen Outdoor Ice Rink and the Royal Palace. Guided tours are available but time constraints prevented such a tour from being taken.
Oslo - Royal Palace

Oslo - Royal Palace or Det kongelige slott

The Royal Palace was built in the first half of the 19th century as the Norwegian residence of Norwegian and Swedish king Charles III (Carl Johan, Charles XIV of Sweden. 1905 was the year of the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden) and is used as the official residence of the present Norwegian Monarch.
Oslo - Royal Palace, Changing of the Guard

Oslo - Royal Palace, Changing of the Guard

The changing of the guard ceremony is an exhibition of parade ground drill. Though good, I expected more and do not believe it to be any more impressive than drill that I've seen in TA units of the British Army.
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