Christiania town square in the old part of Oslo in Norway

Oslo’s oldest marketplace, from the early 1600’s when the capital of Norway was called Christiania, holds the Old Town Hall (1641) – today, a restaurant and museum – and the city’s oldest building (1626). This town square, originally a water station, is where today you find the fountain monument with the Glove of King Christian IV. This Glove symbolizes the King’s words, when he declared: “The new town will lie here!”
Christiania Town Square in Old Oslo City #4 Christiania Town Square in Old Oslo City #9

The square is part of the city that Christian IV (the King of Denmark-Norway) founded after a major fire in the older part of Oslo in 1624. This is therefore the oldest existing district of Oslo – called Kvadraturen (The Quadrature) – and was until the city limits were expanded in 1794 the only non –military buildings in Christiania; placed right behind Akershus Fortress and therefore easier to defend.
Christiania Town Square in Old Oslo City #1
A panoramic photo of the square circling around the fountain monument.

The Old Town Hall:
There’s nothing modern about this dining establishment and patrons, including myself, come here for a nostalgic experience. Housed in Oslo’s former Town Hall (“Det Gamle Rådhus”) stands as one of Oslo’s oldest restaurants. With the interior adding to the authenticity you can get plenty of traditional Norwegian dishes. Their specialities include fish entrées as well as deer, moose, beaver, game birds or other from the Norwegian fauna. Last time I was there, I had a blog friend visiting from Singapore (click to read the post!). Hope you get the idea both of the building and interior from these pics (click to bigify & enjoy):
Christiania Town Square  in Old Oslo City #5 Adventures of a globetrotter in Oslo #3
Left: Yellow building = Old Town Hall – Right: Authentic interior.

Rådmannsgåren = House of the City Manager:
Oslo’s oldest reminding building was constructed for the City Manager Lauritz Hansen, who some years later also led efforts to build the Old Town Hall. It has two floors, with exterior walls of Dutch bricks. The estate in the Renaissance style, is mostly red cup yellow pages and running pages, and shifts are added so that the walls are red and yellow stripes (left building):
Christiania Town Square in Old Oslo City #6
Left: Rådmannsgården – Right: Old City Hall

The Anatomy House:
One of the few remaining houses in Oslo, built with the timber framing method. In fact about 50 % of the buildings in this area were half-timbered in the middle of 18th century. The façades (brick walls) of the building are sanded and covered with layers of protective rock materials, so the timbers are only visible on the gables (left building):
Christiania Town Square in Old Oslo City #8
The age is unknown, but the house is likely to be from the 18th century. It is conserved, like the adjacent Rådmannsgården. In the 19th century, the Faculty of Medicine of University of Oslo had its division of anatomy here – hence the name Anatomigården (= “The Anatomy house“).

I hope you enjoyed this historical look at one of the charming old experiences you can have in Oslo. I am proud that we are careful with our history so future generations can appreciate the craftsmanship and culture of days gone by.

5 Comments

  1. I remember that glove sculpture, Renny. In fact, I’ll never forget it! I think I was sitting on a tour bus looking down on it! :)

  2. Thanks Renny! As always, your posts inspire me to look more around Oslo and learn.

  3. Lucky me: I’ve been there twice! And the second time I’ve been hosted by very special blogger-friends! ;-)

  4. Very nice Renny! Missing my long walks in Oslo when we used to live there.

  5. This post reminded me of Victoria’s fir trading with the Hudson Bay company probably at the end of the 1800’s to early 1900’s. I love the last yellow building, I think that was the anatomy building. Very interesting to know about the architecture. I imagine the inside of our new house here might have such beams too.

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