Saturday, August 30, 2014

Oslo architechure

My favorite 2 buildings in Oslo:  one new and one old.

1. New: Oslo opera house.  It's on the waterfront.  There is tons of construction still going on around it as Oslo has put a highway going next to the port underground, which has opened up lots of land for public spaces.  We walked up and down on the roof of this awesome building.  Amazing views and just great feeling -- one side has a ramp that goes down into the water and there are tons of folks just walking around on top of the building.
This first picture is of Maeve and Silas walking down the ramp from the top of the Opera.  I didn't get a really good photo that shows how cool it was to walk up, around the top with views, and then the kids galloped down.  Just tons of fun.

This is a view of the Opera house from Ekeberg park. 

2. Old:  Stave Church.  The kids and I spent about 5 hours one afternoon in an open-air museum in Oslo with buildings from all over Norway.  Several houses had actors/educators in period costume who answer questions.  We'd been to a similar museum in Bergen, with just Bergen houses, so the kids knew the most fun was to go where the actors were.  The highlight for me was a stave church from the 1200s, that was moved to Oslo a while back from its original location a bit inland.  By some stroke of luck, this church never rotted and was used as a church until the 1800's when it moved to Oslo for the museum (most had no foundation and the pine got wet and rotted).  It was incredibly dark inside, with a lot of intricate wood carving inside and out, very viking-looking with dragons. The kids got very good at spotting the dragons in the carvings around the doors.  See how many you can find!

The staves mean the columns -- the interior of the church was built with single pine trunks -- very tall, very straight.  From back in Viking times, folks would inherit trees their ancestors had identified as good for being a mast, hull etc and 100 years later would cut them down to use. Same for the columns for this church.  The highest part was built around single tree trunks, then a short ambulatory around that, and then the front porch was the shortest.  Very nifty and  very dark, especially after being treated with tar as a weather protection, again Viking technology. But most people apparently were very used to the dark, as poor houses at that time still had a fireplace in the center of the room with a hole in the roof and that was their only light.  This church was built a little over 100 years after Olaf "converted" Norway to Christianity.

I think of the roof as a cross between a Chinese pagoda and the prow of a Viking ship. From the front it just looks like a 4+ level roof, but from the side, the dragon heads are very distinctive. 

The kids' favorite parts of the folk museum were either the playground, getting ice cream, or grinding coffee in one of the houses.  Silas also enjoyed running around the Stave church on its porch. And they liked trying to lasso the reindeer in the very small Sami section.  I'll try to get them to make a best-of list and post it.

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