Akershus fortress

Built in the last years years of the 1290’s by Haakon V, the first Norwegian King who resided permanently in Oslo, Akershus fortress was the first major military defense project of the city & its most trustworthy ally in its 900 year old history. The fortress had already endured its first Swedish siege when the legendary Queen Margrete founder of the Kalmar Union between Norway,Sweden and Denmark made it her official residence after marrying the Norwegian King Haakon VI, who was just 10 years old at the time. One of the great halls of the fortress still bears her name (Margareta Hall).

The castle managed to repel 3 more attacks, 2 from the Swedes & one from the Scots fighting for the Danish King, until in 1527 a lightning struck destroying large parts of it from the fire that broke out. Peasants from the area of Romerike, north of Oslo, were forced to participate in the reconstruction, and soon built a considerably more efficient castle. One of the largest and most widely used halls is called the Romerike Hall to commemorate the peasants.


Besieged again in 1531 by the Danish King Christian II & in 1567 during the Nordic Seven Year War by the Swedish forces, the castle came through again. The transformation into a true Renaissance castle followed by King Christian IV, Norwegians’ favorite foreign king in the beginning of the 17th century while in 1716, three thousand of the Norwegian troops managed to hold their ground against 10.000 soldiers of the Swedish King Karl XII in six weeks of intense fighting.


After that the fortress fell in disuse until in the end of the 18th century it was “rediscovered” again by the citizens of Christiania and restored with expenses appropriated by the Norwegian parliament. A prison for political dissidents in WW2 where many resistance fighters were executed, the fortress is very rightly today the place of the Museum of the Norwegian Resistance & the Armed Forces Museum. Above all its a perfectly restored architectural treasure trove that is surely worth visiting.