World Travel Guides

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Stavanger (Norway)


Stavanger (Norwegian pronunciation: [stɑˈʋɑŋər] ) is a city and municipality in the county of Rogaland, Norway.

Stavanger municipality has a population of 126,469. There are 197,852 people living in the Stavanger conurbation, making Stavanger the fourth largest city, but the third largest urban area, in Norway. Stavanger is the centre of the Stavanger metropolitan area, which has a population of 297,569, and the administrative centre of Rogaland county. The city is commonly referred to as the Petroleum Capital of Norway.

Domkirke of Stavanger, the oldest cathedral in Norway

Despite its age, dating back at least to the Viking Age, Stavanger only grew to its position among the most important Norwegian cities in the second half of the 20th century, after oil was discovered in the North Sea. Today, the city is marked by noticeable foreign influences as a result of the presence of several major international oil companies. Stavanger also houses the NATO Joint Warfare Center.

Norway's oldest cathedral, Stavanger domkirke, is situated in the city centre, right next to Breiavatnet lake. The two most popular recreational areas are situated around lakes, namely Mosvatnet and Stokkavatnet.
Stavanger by night - ferry going between Tau and Stavanger.

Transport
Access to Stavanger is provided through the Sørlandsbanen railway, and the road E39 from Kristiansand and E39 north on the west coast. Stavanger Airport, Sola has connections to domestic and European destinations, including Frankfurt, Amsterdam, London, Aberdeen, Manchester and Copenhagen. Also, located outside Stavanger, there is a port serving ferries to Hirtshals, Denmark. There have been advocates for the Smyril Line ferry between the Faroe Islands and Denmark to make a stop in Stavanger as the new port in Risavika allows this to be done while only adding one hour to the total sailing time. Local ferries go to Tau and Kvitsøy, while fast passenger boats go to many villages and islands between the main routes from Stavanger to Haugesund and Sauda. Flaggruten operates catamaran passenger services to Bergen with multiple stops along the way, among others Haugesund. Express bus services are operated by NOR-WAY Bussekspress from Stavanger City Terminal to Kristiansand, Bergen and Haugesund, and by Lavprisekspressen to Oslo via Kristiansand.
View over Breiavatnet towards the inner harbour Vågen in Stavanger.

Public transport
The local bus service in Stavanger is administered by Rogaland Kollektivtrafikk (RKT) under the brand name "Kolumbus". The buses are operated by Boreal Transport. RKT administers all bus routes in Rogaland County.

On 12 January 2009, Kolumbus initiated an express bus service to the large commercial district Forus located south of the city. This service consists of seven direct express routes that run mornings and afternoons. The express buses run from different neighbourhoods in Stavanger directly to Forus, without passing through the city centre, like all other regular routes.

The recently upgraded Jærbanen between Stavanger and Sandnes will be serviced by trains running at a frequency of 4 departures per hour from the 13th of December.

The city has a number of bus services and taxis. There are two tunnel projects planned: Ryfast and Rogfast.

Gamle Stavanger

Tourism
Outdoor activities
Lysefjorden is popular for hiking. Tourists typically visit places like Prekestolen (aka the Pulpit Rock), and Kjeragbolten. Prekestolen is a massive rock overhanging the fjord (604 meters above). Kjeragbolten is a rock wedged in the cliff approx. 1000 meters above the fjord. The straight fall 1000 meters down to the fjord makes Kjerag a very popular location for BASE jumping.

Not too far from Stavanger, alpine centers are ready for skiers and snowboarders throughout the winter season.

Along the coast south of Stavanger there are a number of large, sandy beaches, including at Sola is within closest reach from the city.

City centre
Gamle StavangerOld Stavanger (Gamle Stavanger) is located right next to the city centre and has a collection of eighteenth and 19th century wooden structures.

Stavanger domkirke (St. Svithun's cathedral) was built between 1100 and 1150 by the English bishop Reinald in Anglo-Norman style, and in the late 13th century a new choir was added in Gothic style, with a vaulted roof. The cathedral is the only Norwegian cathedral that is almost unchanged since the 14th century.

The city centre itself is small and intimate, with narrow streets and open spaces protected from car traffic. The open-air vegetable market is one of the very few in Norway where you can buy produce directly from local farmers every working day through the year. Unfortunately the Market has been in decline of recent years, it is now filled with very few stall holders.

Museums
The Stavanger Museum is also located in Old Stavanger, commemorating the city's past glory as the herring capital of Norway.

The museum of Archaeology is one of five archaeological museums in Norway. According to the Museum itself it, follows a profile of environmental archaeology and interdisciplinary study, with a scientific staff that includes representatives from archaeology, the natural sciences and modern cultural history.

The Norwegian Petroleum Museum is located at the harbour. The museum reflects the fact that Stavanger has been Norway's oil capital since oil drilling activities started in the North Sea in 1966.

AN Norway

Trondheim (Norway)

Autumn foliage along Nidelva


Trondheim (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈtrɔnhæjm]), historically, Nidaros and Trondhjem, is a city and municipality in Sør-Trøndelag county, Norway. With a population of 176,008, it´s the third most populous municipality in Norway and city in the country, although the fourth largest metropolitan area. It is the administrative centre of Sør-Trøndelag county. Trondheim lies on the south shore of the Trondheimsfjord at the mouth of the river Nidelva. The city is dominated by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), SINTEF, St. Olavs University Hospital and other technology-oriented institutions.


The settlement was founded in 997 as a trading post, and was the capital of Norway during the Viking Age until 1217. From 1152 to 1537, the city was the seat of the Archdiocese of Nidaros; since it has remained the seat of the Diocese of Nidaros and the Nidaros Cathedral. It was incorporated in 1838. The current municipality dates from 1964, when Trondheim merged with Byneset, Leinstrand, Strinda and Tiller.

The Old Town Bridge of Trondheim

Climate
Trondheim city has a predominantly Oceanic climate,[10] but borders on humid continental and subarctic climate. The part of the municipality further away from the fjord has colder winters (January mean at Klett 1961-90 is −5.5 °C (22 °F)). The part close to the fjord, such as the city center, has milder winters (January mean Trondheim city center 58 m amsl 1961-90 is −2.5 °C (27 °F).Trondheim is mostly sheltered from the strong winds which can occur along the outer seaboard. The warmest temperature ever recorded is 35 °C (95 °F) on 22 July 1901, and the coldest is −26.1 °C (−15.0 °F) in February 1899. Trondheim experiences moderate snowfall from November to March, but mixed with mild weather and rainfall. There are on average 14 days each winter with at least 25 cm snow cover on the ground and 22 days with daily minimum temperature −10 °C (14 °F) or colder. There is often more snow and later snowmelt in suburban areas at somewhat higher elevation, such as Byåsen and Heimdal, with good skiing conditions in Bymarka. Spring often sees much sunshine, but nights can be chilly or cold. The daily high temperature can exceed 20 °C (68 °F) from late April to late September, but not reliably so; on average are 34 days each summer warmer than 20 °C (68 °F). October is the most typical autumn month with cool temperatures and fall foliage, while November is considerably darker and colder. Average annual precipitation is 892 millimetres (35.1 in) fairly evenly spread out over the year, although September and October typically sees twice as much precipitation as March, April and May. Temperatures have tended to be warmer in recent years. The Trøndelag area has seen average temperatures increase by almost 2 °C (3.60 °F) in the last 25 years.

A panorama of Trondheim, the Trondheimsfjord and surrounding areas

Cityscape
Most of the downtown area is scattered with small specialty stores and shops, however a considerable part of the downtown shopping area is concentrated around the pedestrian street Nordre gate (English: Northern street) and the Olav Tryggvasons gate even though the rest of the city center also is riddled with everything from old, well established companies to new, hip and trendy shops.

The Nidelva flows through Trondheim with old storehouses flanking both sides of this river. The Nidaros Cathedral and Old Town Bridge can be seen on the left side of this panorama.

In the mid- to late 1990s, the area surrounding the old drydock and ship construction buildings of the defunct Trondhjems mekaniske Værksted shipbuilding company at the Nedre Elvehavn were renovated and old industrial buildings were torn down to make way for condominiums. A shopping mall was also built, known as Solsiden (The Sunny Side). This is a popular residential and shopping area, especially for young people.

Central Trondheim as seen from the tower of the Nidaros Cathedral looking towards the Trondheimsfjord and Munkholmen Island.

DORA 1 is a German submarine base that housed the 13th U-boat Flotilla during the World War II occupation of Norway. Today the bunker houses various archives, among them the city archives, the university and state archives. More recently, DORA has been used as a concert venue.

Kristiansten Fortress, built 1681–1684, is located on a hill east in Trondheim. It repelled the invading Swedes in 1718, but was decommissioned in 1816 by Crown Prince Regent Charles John.
 The Nidaros Cathedral as seen from the southern bank of the Nidelva.

A statue of Olav Tryggvason, the founder of Trondheim, is located in the city's central plaza, mounted on top of an obelisk. The statue base is also a sun dial, but it is calibrated to UTC+1 so that the reading is inaccurate by one hour in the summer.

The islet Munkholmen is a popular tourist attraction and recreation site. The islet has served as a place of execution, a monastery, a fortress, prison, and a World War II anti-aircraft gun station.


Stiftsgården is the royal residence in Trondheim, originally constructed in 1774 by Cecilie Christine Schøller. At 140 rooms constituting 4,000 square metres (43,056 sq ft), it is possibly the largest wooden building in Northern Europe, and has been used by royals and their guests since 1800.

A statue of Leif Ericson is located at the seaside, close to the old Customs Building, the cruise ship facilities and the new swimming Hall. The statue is a replica, the original being located at a Seattle marina.

The main building of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Nidaros Cathedral
The Nidaros Cathedral and the Archbishop's Palace are located side by side in the middle of the city centre. The cathedral, built from 1070 on, is the most important Gothic monument in Norway and was Northern Europe's most important Christian pilgrimage site during the Middle Ages, with pilgrimage routes from Oslo in southern Norway and from the Jämtland and Värmland regions of Sweden. Today, it is the northernmost medieval cathedral in the world, and the second largest in Scandinavia.

A tram making its way through Trondheim.

During the Middle Ages, and again after independence was restored in 1814, the Nidaros Cathedral was the coronation church of the Norwegian kings. King Haakon VII was the last monarch to be crowned there, in 1906. Starting with King Olav V in 1957, coronation was replaced by consecration. In 1991, the present King Harald V and Queen Sonja were consecrated in the cathedral. On 24 May 2002, their daughter Princess Märtha Louise married the writer Ari Behn in the cathedral.

The Pilgrim's Route (Pilegrimsleden) to the site of Saint Olufs's tomb at Nidaros Cathedral, has recently been re-instated. Also known as St. Olav's Way, (Sankt Olavs vei), the main route, which is approximately 640 kilometres (400 mi) long, starts in Oslo and heads North, along the Lake Mjøsa, up the valley Gudbrandsdalen, over the mountain range Dovrefjell and down the Oppdal valley to end at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. There is a Pilgrim's Office in Oslo which gives advice to pilgrims, and a Pilgrim Centre in Trondheim, under the aegis of the cathedral, which awards certificates to successful pilgrims upon the completion of their journey.
The Pavement Cafes at Bakklandet

Museums
Trondheim Museum of Arts has Norway's third largest public art collection, mainly Norwegian art from the last 150 years. The National Museum of Decorative Arts boasts a large collection of decorative arts and design, including a great number of tapestries from the Norwegian tapestry artist Hannah Ryggen, as well as Norway's only permanent exhibibition of Japanese arts and crafts. Sverresborg, also named Zion after King David's castle in Jerusalem, was a fortification built by Sverre Sigurdsson. It is now an open air museum, consisting of more than 60 buildings. The castle was originally built in 1182–1183, but did not last for long as it was burned down in 1188. However, the Sverresaga indicates it had been restored by 1197.

The building of the Studentersamfundet i Trondhjem

Trondheim Science Museum (Norwegian: Vitensenteret i Trondheim) is a scientific hands-on experience center. The Museum of Natural History and Archaeology is part of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. There are also a variety of small history, science and natural history museums, such as the Trondheim Maritime Museum, the Armoury, adjacent to the Archbishops's Palace, the music and musical instrument museum Ringve National Museum, Ringve Botanical Garden, the Trondheim Tramway Museum, and the Jewish Museum, co-located with the city's synagogue, which is among the northernmost in the world.

Early winter in the hills near the city. Trondheim municipality covers large areas outside the city itself

Rockheim (National Center of Pop and Rock Culture) opened at the Pier in August 2010. It is located inside an old building, but characterized by an easily recognizable roof the shape of a box. "The box" is decorated by thousands of tiny lights that changes in a variety of coulours and patterns, and is a landmark in the cityscape - especially in dark winter evenings.


Transport
Trondheim has an international airport, Trondheim Airport, Værnes, situated in Stjørdal, which is Norway's fourth largest airport in terms of passenger traffic.

Major railway connections are the northbound Nordland Line, the eastbound Meråker Line to Åre and Östersund in Sweden, and two southbound connections to Oslo, the Røros Line and Dovre Line.

The Coastal Express ships (Hurtigruten: Covering the Bergen–Kirkenes stretch of the coast) call at Trondheim, as do many cruise ships during the summer season. Since 1994 there is also a fast commuter boat service to Kristiansund, the closest coastal city to the southwest.

Trondheim also boasts the northernmost (since closure of Arkhangelsk tram in 2004) tramway line in the world: the Gråkallen Line, the last remaining segment of the Trondheim Tramway, is an 8.8 kilometres (5.5 mi) route (which is mostly single-track outside the innermost parts of the city; except the stretch between Breidablikk and Nordre Hoem stations) which runs from the city centre, through the Byåsen district, and up to Lian, in the large recreation area Bymarka. Trondheim boasts the world's only bicycle lift, Trampe.

The bus network, operated by AtB, runs throughout most of the city and its suburbs. In addition, the Nattbuss (Night Bus) service ensures cheap and effective transport for those enjoying nightlife in the city centre during the weekends. Note that the Nattbus has other prices than ordinary busses. The European route E6 highway passes through the city centre of Trondheim in addition to a motorway bypass along the eastern rim of the city.









AN Norway

Tønsberg (Norway) - picture - photo

Tønsberg

Ruins of St. Olav's Church

The city of Tønsberg was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). The rural municipality of Sem was merged into the municipality of Tønsberg on 1 January 1988.

The population of the entire urban area, regardless of municipality borders, and following the guidelines set by Statistics Norway, was 46,862 on 1 January 2008, making Tønsberg the tenth most populous urban area in Norway. Tønsberg is generally regarded as the oldest town in Norway.

Oseberghaugen, the Oseberg burial mound from early Viking era


General information
Name
The Old Norse form of the name was Túnsberg. The first element is the genitive case of tún (n), meaning fenced area or garden. The last element is berg (n), meaning mountain. The name originally referred to the fortifications on Slottsfjellet. The old spelling has been retained in the name of the diocese, Tunsberg bispedømme.

Øvre Langgate street (Tønsberg)

Coat-of-arms
The coat-of-arms is an old city seal from as far back as 1349. The seal shows Tønsberg Fortress surrounded by a ring wall on a mountain with the sea in front. There is also a longship in the water in front of the fortress. Around the seal are the words (in Latin): This is the seal of Tunsberg.


History
The first time the town was mentioned by a contemporary writer was in the year 1130. According to Snorri Sturluson, Tønsberg was founded before the Battle of Hafrsfjord, which, according to Snorri, took place in 871. What year the battle took place is disputed, however, and most current historians believe the battle took place closer to 900. However, if the battle did in fact take place in 871, this would make Tønsberg the oldest present Scandinavian city. It was based upon this that the city's 1000 years jubilee was celebrated in 1871, and 1100 years jubilee in 1971. The archaeological excavations conducted in 1987-88 underneath the monastery ruins revealed several Viking graves which have served to confirm the earlier age of the original settlement.

The king or his ombudsman resided in the old Royal Court at Sæheimr, today the Jarlsberg Estate (Jarlsberg Hovedgård), and on the farm Haugar, (from the Old Norse word haugr meaning hill or burial mound), which can be assumed to have been Tønsberg's birthplace. Haugar became the seat for Haugathing, the Thing for Vestfold and Norway's second most important place for the proclamation of kings. The site had probably been named after two Viking Era mounds, which tradition links to two sons of King Harald I, Olaf Haraldsson Geirstadalf, who was king in Vestfold, and his half-brother, Sigrød Haraldsson, king of Trondheim. Both are presumed to have fallen in battle at Haugar against their half-brother Eric Bloodaxe and to have been buried on the same spot.

Slottsfjellet (English: Castle Mountain), north of the city centre, made for a near impregnable natural fortress. During the civil war era of the 12th century, it was fortified by the Baglers. The Birkebeiners besieged it for 20 weeks in the winter of 1201 before the Baglers surrendered. In the 13th century, King Haakon Haakonson set up a castle in Tønsberg, Tønsberg Fortress. The town was destroyed by fire in 1536, but Tønsberg remained one of the most important harbour towns in Norway.

During the German occupation of Norway in World War II, the Berg concentration camp was constructed near Tønsberg. In 1948, Tønsberg became the cathedral city of the Diocese of Tunsberg (Tunsberg bispedømme), created when the counties of Buskerud and Vestfold were separated from the Diocese of Oslo.

Tourist sites
Perhaps the most important landmark in the town is Slottsfjellet, the tower standing on the hill. It was erected in 1888 as a memorial to Tønsberg Fortress (Tunsberg festning), the old fortress, of which just fragmentary ruins remain today. Several streets in the town are named after old kings of Norway.

Other notable tourist sites include:

l   Haugar Art Museum (Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum) - located in the former Seamen's School in the middle of Tønsberg, the brick building was built 1918-21. The museum was established in 1993 as a foundation created by Vestfold county and municipality of Tønsberg. The museum is a division in Vestfold County Museum Authority. Haugar Vestfold Art Museum is located in the parkland between the site of the ancient assembly of Haugating and the two Viking era mounds.
l   Foynegården - the city's best-preserved merchant's yard. Foynegården is the site of a patrician houses from the 1700s where Svend Foyn was born in 1809.

l   Ruins of St. Olav's Church (Olavskirken) - Former monastery founded in the year 1191, located near the current Tønsberg Library.
l   Sem Church (Sem kirke) - Vestfold's oldest stone church built before 1100 in the Romanesque style, located near the Jarlsberg Estate
l   Tønsberg Cathedral (Tønsberg domkirke) – Brick church from 1858 with pulpit from 1621 and an altarpiece from 1764.
is a city and municipality in Vestfold county, southern Norway, located around 25 km (15.53 mi) north-east of Sandefjord. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Tønsberg.
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Monday, December 29, 2014

Fredrikstad (Norway)


Fredrikstad (previously Frederiksstad) (literally Fredrik's Town) is a city and municipality in Østfold county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Fredrikstad.

View towards the old town.

The city of Fredrikstad was founded in 1567 by King Frederik II, and established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). The rural municipality of Glemmen was merged with Fredrikstad on 1 January 1964. The rural municipalities of Borge, Onsøy, Kråkerøy, and Rolvsøy were merged with Fredrikstad on 1 January 1994.

Fredrikstad Cathedral

The city straddles the river Glomma where it meets the Skagerrak. Along with neighboring Sarpsborg, Fredrikstad forms the fifth largest city in Norway: Fredrikstad/Sarpsborg. As of 1 January 2008, according to Statistics Norway, these two municipalities have a total population of 123,029 with 71,976 in Fredrikstad and 51,053 in Sarpsborg.

Fredrikstad bridge, crossing the river Glomma.

Fredrikstad was built at the mouth of Glomma as a replacement after Sarpsborg (15 km upstream) was burned down by the Swedes. Almost half the population of Sarpsborg stayed behind, and rebuilt their old town at its original site.

The city centre is on the west bank of the Glomma, while the old town on the east bank is Northern Europe's best preserved fortified town.

Tøihuset

Fredrikstad used to have a large sawmill industry and was an important harbour for timber export, then later on shipbuilding, until the main yard was closed in the 1980s. The main industries are currently various chemical plants and other light industry.

In 2005, Fredrikstad was the final host port for the Tall Ships' Race, attracting thousands to the city.

Fredrikstad Stadion.

General information
Name
The city was named after the Danish king Frederik II in 1569. The last element stad means "city".

Prior to 1877, the name was spelled Frederiksstad, then from 1877-1888 it was written as Fredriksstad, and finally since 1889 it has been spelled in its current form: Fredrikstad.

Coat-of-arms
The coat-of-arms is from modern times. They were granted on 21 April 1967. The old arms are based on the oldest known seal of the city, which dates from 1610. They showed a fortress being guarded by a bear. Strangely, Fredrikstad had no fortifications in 1610 (it received some at the end of the 17th century). Fredrikstad was founded by citizens of Sarpsborg and both the fortress and the bear are taken from the old arms of Sarpsborg. The composition of the seal was also used as arms since the beginning of the 19th century. The new arms were granted at the 400th anniversary of the city in 1967 and show a more modern variation on the fortress and bear.

History
After Sarpsborg was burned to the ground during the Northern Seven Years' War, the ruling king, Frederik II of Denmark, decided by royal decree to rebuild the city 15 kilometres (9 mi) south of the original location. This new site's proximity to the sea and the accessible open land surrounding it made it a better location than the old one. The name Fredrikstad was first used in a letter from the King dated 6 February 1569. The temporary fortification built during the Hannibal War (1644–1645) between Sweden and Denmark-Norway, became permanent in the 1660s.

The work on the fortifications was first led by William de Coucheron and later Johan Caspar von Cicignon. During the next 60 years, several fortifications at the Fredrikstad Fortress were built, including Isegran, Kongsten, and Cicignon. In 1735, a suburb on the western side of Glomma, Vestsiden, was founded. This part later grew faster than the old city, and became the dominant city centre. Most of the buildings in the old city burned down during a fire in 1764.

In the 1840s, timber exporting from Fredrikstad started to gain momentum. In the 1860s, several steam powered saws were built along the river, and in 1879 the railway reached Fredrikstad, leading to further growth. With the decline of the timber exports as a result of the modernization of wood-processing industries in the early 1900s, Fredrikstad's production changed to other types of products. It later became one of Norway's most important industrial centres, famous for its large shipyard, Fredrikstad Mekaniske Verksted.

AN Norway