Monday, April 28, 2008

Renaissance Buildings in Oslo

After the 14th large fire in 1624, the old location of Oslo was abandoned and the dynamic Renaissance king Christian IV designed the new city by the Akershus fortress. In this way he wanted to make it easier to defend the city from advancing armies, mainly the Swedish that attacked regularly. He named the new city Christiania, after himself, and decided that it would be rebuilt in stone in order to avoid further large fires. From the renaissance there are a considerable number of buildings preserved. Here are a few to see.

Anatomigården (1640)

Antanomigården is located at Christiania Torv, where you find more 17th century buildings. Anatomigården is one of few remaining half-timbered buildings left. During the 17th and 18th century a great number of buildings where built in this Northern European style.

The name comes from the fact that it housed the Medical Faculty of The University of Oslo 1815-1852. It was also the location where the sculptor Brynjulf Bergslien made the draft of the sculpture of the Swedish-Norwegian King Karl Johan that can be seen in front of the Royal Palace.

Address: Rådhusgaten 19.

Rådmannsgården (1626)

Rådmannsgården is the oldest renaissance building of the city, built just two years after the large fire as a residence of Lauritz Hansen, a local official (rådmann).

The style is Dutch renaissance and the complex was larger when it was constructed. What is left is built in Dutch bricks. The inner courtyard has a beautiful late 17th century addition built in half-timber, where you may dine during the summer months at the Kafé Celsius.

The building has housed the University and the Municipal libraries. From 1850 it was the home of the military hospital for the personel at the fortress nearby. Now you find the Oslo Society of Art here.

Address: Rådhusgaten 19

Oslos first city hall (1641)

This building was the city hall of the new city from 1641 - 1733. It was constructed by Lauritz Hansen, the owner of the neighboring Rådmannsgården.

It used to have a tower, that was torn down during the 18th century. It fell into disrepair during the early 18th century until it was taken over by the widow of General Patroclus Rømeling that restored the building. In 1785 it was sold to the oldest Norwegian masonic lodge St. Olaus til den Hvite Leopard. It housed the Supreme Court from 1821-1846. From 1856 it has been a restaurant in the house. Today it is the home of the Theater Museum and Gamle Raadhus restaurant. It burned in 1996 but has now been fully restored.

Address: Nedre Slottsgate 1

Christiana Opfostringshus (1640)

This building is located at Bankplassen, by the Museum of Contemporary Art. It was built as residence for Mads Haraldssøn, a local official in 1640. In the period 1778 - 1917 it was home for poor children.

Stattholdergården (1640)

Stattholdergården has it name from Stattholder Ulrik Fredrik Gyldenløve, the royal representative in Norway, and the illegitimate son of Fredrik III, that used the house as his residence 1680-1699.

It was built for Peter Grüner, the head of the Norwegian mint in 1640. It has beautiful stucco ceilings from the mid 18th century. The house has a beautiful room named after the Egyptian queen Cleopatra in neo-rococco style. Today you may eat here in style at Statholdergaarden, one of Oslo Michelin star restaurant owned by the Norwegian restaurateur Bent Stiansen.

Address: Rådhusgaten 11.

Oslos second City Hall (1620's)

The oldest part of this building goes as far back as the years following the large fire in 1624. It was extended as it was taken over by a local official, Stiftamtskriver in 1647 that used the house as his residence.

As the first city hall was abandoned in 1733, the city administration moved into the building and it worked as the second city hall 1743-1833. It was also a police station for over 200 years, from 1745-1963.

Address: Rådhusgaten 7

Magistratgården (1647)

The house was built as a residence for the city official Hans Berthelsen in 1647. Over the door you can see the coat of arms of Morten Leuch Elieson and Dorothea Monsen.

He did not live in the house long and the following 200 years the house had many owners. In 1843 it was bought by the state and used as offices for Magistratene, royal official from 1843-1870.

The house has beautiful stucco ceilings from the 17th century.

Address: Dronningens gate 11

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