The fortress at Akershus is one of Oslo, Norway’s important identity markers. Within the walls, the center of the city was established in 1624. Today, Akershus remains an important landmark together with City Hall. Looking out to sea, this is Oslo’s most distinct silhouette – gray and fortified, starkly in contrast with the lakes, mountains, and valleys of green.
During the mid- to late-1800s, the values represented by the Akershus Fortress began to weigh heavily on the minds of the locals. The vastly grand undertaking of restoring the fortress to its former glory began, rendering to Akershus the title of National Monument that it so richly deserved.
Important to locals to masterfully recreate Akershus, they first set their sights on the Middle Ages. The importance was placed on visually creating the grandeur of the then-Norwegian Empire. After twenty-five years of renovations, it became stunningly apparent how important were the buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries; however, by that time, the majority of the Nedrevoll suburbs had been destroyed, as well as Hornverket.
Despite the loss of certain areas due to time and destructive forces, the core area and the outer surrounding area have been greatly preserved and can be visited via Kvadraturen’s city bus line. The fortifications were lost over time, and due to the site having been used as a military installation in the 1800s, the uses of the site differed from the original. While original buildings had been clad in mud, the newer military installations had a more castle-like appearance.
More recently, the site has had a management building constructed. Armed forces remain at present, reminding the current generation how the site was used in ages past, as well as how Akershus could be utilized in the future. The conjunction of the fortresses as Akershus and Bergenhus with the rest of Norway’s fortified historical structures has brought a valuable lesson to locals and visitors alike. Valuable both militarily and culturally, these fortresses are open to the public and offer chances for exploration, volunteering, and also give the elderly a place experience their heritage.
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