The story of Christiania

18 recommendations

On this tour, you’ll learn more about key events and locations in Kvadraturen’s history in the 17th and 18th centuries. The tour will take approx. 1.5 hour to complete.

In 1624, King Christian IV of Denmark and Norway founded a new city just outside the walls of Akershus festning and named it after himself.

The old city of Oslo had burned to the ground, and the King decided to move the population into his new city.


1. Kontraskjæret

Rådhusgata, Kvadraturen

5 recommendations

The name Kontraskjæret is a Norwegianisation of the French word ‘contrescarpe’, meaning counterscarp, and this was part of the fortifications for Akershus festning.


2. Christiania Torv

19 recommendations

Christiania Torv was the town’s very first square. It was the site of the city’s Holy Trinity cathedral, before it burned down in 1686.

This square is also where you’ll find Christiania’s oldest building, dating back to 1626, and the first town hall.

3. Egertorget

5 recommendations

From the 1840s onward, the city’s centre started moving west. The Royal Palace was completed in 1848. The street leading up to the palace linked up with Kvadraturen’s Østre gate on Egertorget in 1846. This new street, cutting straight across the square, was named Karl Johans gate after the king, and became the new main street of the city.

4. Stortorget

6 recommendations

Stortorget became the city’s main market square in 1737. This was where town met country. The square sat between the blocks where the city’s middle and upper class residents lived, and the suburbs, where the many poor and working class people lived.

5. Oslo Cathedral

Karl Johans gate 11

7 recommendations

The Church of Our Saviour is Oslo’s official cathedral. It was erected in 1697, after the city’s second cathedral on Christiania Torv burned down.

6. Kirkeristen, Basarene and Brannvakten

Dronningensgate 27

5 recommendations

Kirkeristen, with its bazaar stalls and the old firewatch tower, frames the Church of Our Saviour nicely, but this was built long after the church was erected.

7. Østbanestasjonen

Jernbanetorget 1

1 recommendation

Once upon a time, all journeys south to Europe from Oslo began at “Østbanen” — the Eastern Rail. Trains no longer depart from this old railway station, but it has been given new life, and this beautiful building is still a prominent landmark on Jernbanetorget.

8. Paléhaven and Paleet

Christian Frederiks plass

5 recommendations

Paléhaven, which adjoined Det Ankerske palé, was the city’s first public park and was established in around 1760. The mansion also served as the royal residence from 1814 to 1848, while the Royal Palace was being built. The mansion was demolished in 1942.

9. Tollboden, Tollpakkhuset and the port

Tollbugata 1

4 recommendations

The seafront has been moved and replaced with paved streets, but Tollboden and Tollpakkhuset were once the most important buildings in the port, where goods were imported and exported on a grand scale.

10. Den gamle Krigsskolen

Tollbugata 10

4 recommendations

Now known as the Old Military Academy, this building was once a private home. The original building dates back to the 1630s, but it was given its current design in the 1760s.

11. Centralbanken

Kirkegata 18

2 recommendations

Kirkegata 14-16-18 was erected in 1915–1921 for the then Centralbanken for Norge and it is one of several grand bank buildings in Kvadraturen.

12. The National Museum – Architecture

Bankplassen 3

2 recommendations

Christiania’s first building for Norges Bank – the Central Bank of Norway – was completed in 1828 and was designed by Architect Christian H. Grosch. The former bank building currently houses the National Museum – Architecture.