Top Ten Norwegian Attractions

Top Ten Norwegian Attractions

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       Norway is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of 385,252 square km (148,747 sq mi) and a population of about 4.9 million. It is the 2nd least densely populated country in Europe. The majority of the country shares a border to the east with Sweden, while the rest is bordered by  Finland, Russia and the Skagerrak Strait across from Denmark. The capital city of Norway is Oslo. Norway’s extensive coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean and the Barents Sea, is home to its famous fjords. Two centuries of Viking raids tapered off following the adoption of Christianity by King Olav Tryggvason in 994. A period of civil war ended in the 13th century when Norway expanded its control overseas to parts of the British Isles, Iceland and Greenland. Norwegian territorial power peaked in 1265, but competition from the Hanseatic League and the spread of the Black Death weakened the country. In 1380, Norway was absorbed into a union with Denmark that lasted more than four centuries. In 1814, Norwegians resisted the cession of their country to Sweden and adopted a new constitution. Sweden then invaded Norway but agreed to let Norway keep its constitution in return for accepting the union under a Swedish king. Rising nationalism throughout the 19th century led to a 1905 referendum granting Norway independence. Although Norway remained neutral in WWI, it suffered heavy losses to its shipping.Norway proclaimed its neutrality at the outset of WWII, but was nonetheless occupied for five years by the Third Reich. In 1949, neutrality was abandoned and Norway became a founding member of NATO. Discovery of oil and gas in adjacent waters in the late 1960’s boosted Norway’s economic fortunes. In referenda held in 1972 and 1994, Norway rejected joining the EU. Key domestic issues include immigration and integration of ethnic minorities, maintaining the country’s extensive social safety net with an ageing population and preserving economic competitiveness.Norway is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy, with King Harald V as its head of state and Jens Stoltenberg as its prime minister. It is a unitary state with administrative subdivisions on two levels known as counties (fylker) and municipalities (kommuner). The Sámi people have a certain amount of self-determination and influence over traditional territories through the Sámi Parliament and the Finnmark Act. Although having rejected European Union membership in two referenda, Norway maintains close ties with the union and its member countries, as well as with the US. Norway remains one of the biggest financial contributors to the United Nations, and participates with UN forces in international missions, notably in Afghanistan,Kosovo,Sudan and Libya. Norway has extensive reserves of petroleum, natural gas, minerals, lumber, seafood, fresh water and hydropower. On a per-capita basis, it is the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas outside of the Middle East, and the petroleum industry accounts for around a quarter of the country’s GDP. The country maintains a Nordic welfare model with universal health care, subsidized higher education and a comprehensive social security system. From 2001 to 2007, and then again in 2009 and 2010,Norway had the highest human development index ranking in the world.

  1. Oslo
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           Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality (formannskapsdistrikt), it was established on January 1,  1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway’s King Christian IV. It was rebuilt closer to Akershus Castle, as Christiania (also spelled Kristiania in late 1800’s). In 1925, the city reclaimed its original Norwegian name, Oslo. The diocese of Oslo is one of the five original dioceses in Norway, which originated around the year 1070. Oslo is the cultural, scientific, economic and governmental center of Norway. The city is also a hub of Norwegian trade, banking, industry and shipping. It is an important center for maritime industries and maritime trade in Europe. The city is home to many companies within the maritime sector, some of which are among the world’s largest shipping companies, shipbrokers and maritime insurance brokers. Oslo is a pilot city of the Council of Europe and the European Commission intercultural cities program. Oslo is considered a global city and ranked “Beta World City” in studies performed by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network in 2008. For several years, Oslo has been listed as one of the most expensive cities in the world along with such other cities, as Zurich, Geneva, Copenhagen, Paris and Tokyo. In 2009, however, Oslo regained its status as the world’s most expensive city. A survey conducted by ECA International in 2011 placed Oslo 2nd after Tokyo. As of 2010, the metropolitan area of Oslo has a population of 1,442,318 of whom 912,046 live in the contiguous conurbation. The population currently increases at a record rate of 1.64% annually, making it the fastest growing city in Europe. This growth stems from immigration, as the Norwegian population in the city is decreasing. The immigrant share of the population in the city proper now counts more than 25% of the city’s total.
    Links: Cities, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oslo,
  2. Bergen
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    Bergen is the 2nd largest city in Norway with a population of 263,400 (2011). Bergen is the administrative center of Hordaland County, located on the south-western coast of Norway. It is an important cultural hub in its region, recognized as the unofficial capital of Western Norway and sometimes also referred to as the Atlantic coast capital of Norway. Bergen’s inter-municipal harbor is by far Norway’s largest and one of Europe’s largest ports. The city was one of nine European cities honored with the title of European Capital of Culture in the Millennium year.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergen,
  3. Stavanger
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           Stavanger is a city and municipality in the county of Rogaland, Norway, which has a population of 126,469. Stavanger is the 4th largest city, but the 3rd largest urban area, in Norway. Stavanger is the center of the Stavanger metropolitan area, which has a population of 297,569, and the administrative center of Rogaland County. The city is commonly referred to as the Petroleum Capital of 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. Norway’s oldest cathedral, Stavanger domkirke, is situated in the city center, right next to Breiavatnet Lake. The two most popular recreational areas are situated around lakes, namely Mosvatnet and Stokkavatnet.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stavanger,
  4. Tromsø
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           Tromsø is a city and municipality in Troms County, Norway. Tromsø city is the 9th largest urban area in Norway by population, and the 7th largest city in Norway by population. It is the largest city and the largest urban area in Northern Norway, and the 2nd largest city and urban area in Sápmi. The area has been inhabited since the end of the ice age. Speakers of Norse, the ancestor of Norwegian, brought their culture to the area during the migrations of the Vikings before 890 AD, when Ohthere’s settlement existed to the south of today’s Tromsø. The first church on the island of Tromsøya was erected in the 13th century, and the area is one of Denmark–Norway’s very northernmost territories not contested by Russia. During the 17th century, Denmark–Norway solidified its claim to the northern coast of Scandinavia and during this period a redoubt, Skansen, was built. Tromsø was issued its city charter in 1794 by King Christian VII. The city was established as a municipality January 1, 1838. The rural municipalities of Tromsøysund and Ullsfjord, and most of Hillesøy, were merged with Tromsø on January 1, 1964. Most of Tromsø, including the city center, is located on the small island of Tromsøya in the county of Troms, 350 km (217 mi) inside the arctic circle. The island is connected to the mainland by the Tromsø Bridge and the Tromsøysund Tunnel, and to the island of Kvaløya by the Sandnessund Bridge. The city is warmer than most other places located on the same latitude, due to the warming effect of the Gulf Stream. The city center of Tromsø contains the highest number of old wooden houses in Northern Norway, the oldest house dating from 1789. The Arctic Cathedral, a modern church from 1965, is probably the most famous landmark in Tromsø. The city is a cultural center for its region, several festivals taking place in the summer. The largest football team in the city, Tromsø I.L, plays in the Norwegian Premier League.
    Links: Top Ten Natural Wonders of the World, Top Ten Cathedrals, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troms%C3%B8,
  5. Bryggen
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           Bryggen, “Wharf,” also known as Tyskebryggen, is a series of Hanseatic commercial buildings lining the eastern side of the fjord coming into Bergen, Norway. The city of Bergen was founded in 1070. The area of the present Bryggen constitutes the oldest part of the city. Around 1360 a Kontor of the Hanseatic League was established there, and as the town developed into an important trading center, the wharfs were improved. The buildings of Bryggen were gradually taken over by the Hanseatic merchants. The warehouses were filled with goods, particularly fish from northern Norway, and cereal from Europe. Throughout history, Bergen has experienced many fires, since, traditionally, most houses were made from wood. This was also the case for Bryggen, and as of today, around a quarter dates back to the time after 1702, when the older wharfside warehouses and administrative buildings burned down. The rest predominantly consists of younger structures, although there are some stone cellars that date back to the 15th century. Parts of Bryggen were destroyed in a fire in 1955. This area was used for the construction of Bryggen museum containing archeological remains, plus some old-style wooden houses. Controversially, a brick hotel was also raised on the premises. Today, Bryggen houses tourist, souvenir and gift shops, in addition to restaurants, pubs and museums.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryggen,
  6. Urnes Stave Church
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           Urnes Stave Church is a stave church at the Ornes farm, along the Lustrafjord in the municipality of Luster in Sogn og Fjordane county, Norway, about 5 km  (3.1 mi) east of the village of Hafslo. It has been owned by Fortidsminneforeningen (Society for the Preservation of Norwegian Ancient Monuments) since 1881.
    Links: Churches, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urnes_Stave_Church,
  7. Røros
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    Røros is a town and municipality in Sør-Trøndelag County, Norway. It is part of the Gauldalen region. Other villages include Brekken, Glåmos, Feragen, Galåa and Hitterdalen. The mining town of Røros is sometimes called Bergstaden which means “the mining town” due to its historical notoriety for copper mining. It is one of two towns in Norway that were historically designated “mining towns,” along with the “silver-town” of Kongsberg. The modern-day inhabitants of Røros still work and live in the characteristic 17th and 18th century buildings. Røros has about 80 wooden houses, most of them standing around courtyards. Many retain their dark pitch-log facades, giving the town a medieval appearance. The 3.47-square km (1.34 sq mi) town of Røros has a population of 3,640 (2009). There are also two churches in the town: Røros Church and Røros Chapel.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%B8ros,
  8. Rock Drawings at Alta
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           The Rock carvings at Alta are part of an archaeological site near the town of Alta in the county of Finnmark in northern Norway. Since the first petroglyphs were discovered in 1972, more than 5,000 carvings have been found on several sites around Alta. The main site, located at Jiepmaluokta, about 4 kilometers outside of Alta, contains around 3,000 individual carvings and has been turned into an open-air museum. The earliest carvings in the area date to around 4,200 BC, while the most recent carvings are generally dated to around 500 BC, although some researchers believe carving continued until around 500 AD. The wide variety of imagery shows a culture of hunter-gatherers that was able to control herds of reindeer, was adept at boat building and fishing and practiced shamanistic rituals involving bear worship and other venerated animals. Apart from the visual evidence of the carvings themselves, not much is known about the culture that produced these carvings, although it has been speculated that the carvers might have been descendants of the Komsa culture. Some researchers also hold the belief that the Sami people are descendants of the carvers.
    Links: Relieves and Petroglyphs, Cave Paintings, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_carvings_at_Alta,
  9. Vegaøyan
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             The Vega Archipelago, or Vegaøyan in Norwegian, corresponding roughly to the municipality of Vega, is a cluster of around 6,500 small islands in Nordland just south of the Arctic Circle. It surrounds the main island of Vega and has been inhabited since the Stone Age. It illustrates the human capacities allowing people to survive Nordic conditions in a sea environment. Access to the archipelago is by ferry or fast boat from Brønnøysund, Nordland, which can be reached by plane or by road.
    Links: Top 100 Beaches, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vega%C3%B8yan,
  10. Struve Geodetic Arc
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              The Struve Geodetic Arc is a chain of survey triangulations stretching from Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea, through ten countries and over 2,820 km, which yielded the first accurate measurement of a meridian. The chain was established and used by the German-born Russian scientist Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve in the years 1816 to 1855 to establish the exact size and shape of the earth. At that time, the chain passed merely through two countries: Union of Sweden-Norway and the Russian Empire. The Arc’s first point is located in Tartu Observatory, where Struve conducted much of his research. In 2005, the chain was inscribed on the World Heritage List as a memorable ensemble of the chain made up of 34 commemorative plaques or built obelisks out of the original 265, main station points which are marked by drilled holes in rocks, iron crosses, cairns, others. Measurement of the triangulation chain comprises 258 main triangles and 265 geodetic vertices. The northernmost point is located near Hammerfest in Norway and the southernmost point near the Black Sea in Ukraine.
    Links: Top 100 Scientists, Top Ten Scientific Theories, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Struve_Geodetic_Arc,
  11. West Norwegian Fjords – Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord
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           The Geiranger Fjord is a fjord in the Sunnmøre region of Møre og Romsdal county in Norway. It is in the municipality of Stranda. It is a 15-km (9.3 mi) long branch of the Storfjord (Great Fjord). The small village of Geiranger is located at the end of the fjord where the Geirangelva River empties into it. The Nærøyfjord (or Nærøyfjorden) is a fjord in the municipality of Aurland in Sogn og Fjordane, Norway. The narrow fjord is a branch of the large Sognefjord, and it is featured on the “Norway in a Nutshell” daytrips for tourists. The 18 km (11 mi) long fjord is only 500 meters (1,600 ft) wide in some parts. The river Nærøydalselvi flows down the valley Nærøydalen into the fjord at the village of Gudvangen, near the highway E16. The village of Bakka and the Bakka church are located on the west shore of the fjord.
    Links: Top Ten Natural Wonders of the World, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geirangerfjord, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N%C3%A6r%C3%B8yfjord,
  12. Links: Top Ten Norwegian Hotels, Top Ten Norwegian Restaurants, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norway

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