A few days ago, a friend and I explored the grounds of Akershus Festning/Fortress in Oslo. This is a 700 year old city centre fortress, built on the top of a hill by the bay, overlooking the sea. Aker Brygge and Oslo City Hall are its nearest neighbours. I can just imagine how they used to keep track of all the ships arriving and leaving Oslo (then Christiania) harbour from the tower of the fortress, protecting the citizens from potential intruders.
There are several paths leading you around the large grounds, which consist of a fortress, a castle and a church, as well as multiple other buildings. You get to explore all the buildings up close and personal, and you can see how they have been patched up through the years — they all have at least four different types of stone and/or building methods telling their story. Some of the buildings are museums (Akershus Castle, Home Front Museum and Defence Museum), other offices of Forsvarsbygg and Forsvaret/the Army, while the church is open for service every other Sunday.
Having lived in Scotland for seven years and visited many of the gorgeous castles there, I immediately felt like I was back in the land of bagpipes and haggis — minus the constant winds. I am actually quite proud that we have such a magnificent fortess in the middle of Oslo, our capital. Oslo surely is unique for a capital city — where else can you go skiing 20 minutes by tram from the city centre, go hiking in one of the many national parks and go swimming off the pier by Aker Brygge in the summer? It’s the perfect place to live if you love both nature and city life!
While the weather was cold and grey on this particular day, I plan to bring my Canon back on a sunny day. I love the bareness of the winter trees against the rough stones of the buildings — they will look marvelous in the sunshine!