Monday, August 22, 2016

Trondheim, Norway celebrates royal family

Colorful warehouses line Trondheim's waterfront.
It was a drive-by, but we waved to the king and queen of Norway during our visit to Trondheim. Actually, we saw King Harald and Queen Sonja wave to the crowd through the window of a heavily guarded black sedan as they passed by the Royal Residence on the way to Nidaros Cathedral for a special service.
The Royal's car passes the royal residence in Trondheim.
The Queen was in town for the 25th anniversary of her inauguration. As expected, security was very heavy with guards marching in front of its sprawling 43,000 square feet, streets blocked off, and even a warship keeping watch in the harbor not far from where our ship was docked.

The Royal residence, called Stiftsgarden, is the largest wooden building in Europe and has been home to the royals in Trondheim since 1800. Oslo may be the capital of Norway, but Trondheim--its first capital--holds the country’s heart and soul.
Although the country is old, Norway is a young nation having just become independent in 1905. Five million people live in Norway, but the population is spread over a large area. In Trondheim 35,000 of the 190,000 people living there are university students.

Nidaros Cathedral is a well-known
landmark in Trondheim.
We had walked into Trondheim, the second oldest city in Norway, during the morning, stopping to admire colorful old warehouses along the water’s edge. The city came into power during the Viking era (more than 1,000 years ago) and is now known as a trade and technological center. It is also an international hub for jazz, film, opera, and theater festivals—embracing traditional and cosmopolitan traits in addition to natural beauty.
Sitting at the mouth of Trondheim Fjord, the area is a nature lover’s paradise. Skiing, hiking, and miles of trails entice visitors year round. Despite the fact that gray skies are common during the summer, we enjoyed a sunny day there.

Nidaros Cathedral, which was visited by the Queen, is built over the grave of Norway’s first king and saint, Olav. This former Catholic cathedral, largest in Scandinavia, became a Lutheran church during the Reformation in 1537. Massive carved images on the front of the building depict three stages of Christ’s life: crucifixion, judgment, and ascension. Inside is a beautiful rose window containing more than 10,000 pieces of stained glass. Guides, often young people, are distinguished by the flowing red robes they wear.
Next door to the cathedral is the Archbishop’s residence, the oldest secular building in Norway, built in 1170s. Original tile flooring and models depicting the architectural history of the building are worth a look.

A canon points toward the city at Kristiansen Festning fortress.
We paid a short visit to Kristiansen Festning, a fortress built on a hill east of the city as a protection from the Swedes but used strategically on many occasions. After viewing exhibits about the 14-day war with Sweden and its repercussions, we wandered the premises to view panoramas of the town.
Overview of the city built on a peninsula in Norway.
The best views came from a look-out point high on a hill, where we could distinguish landmarks including the Fortress, Nidaros, and two towers of the University of Science and Technology. Traveling though the mid-town peninsula, we could see Monk Island, a popular recreation area today. In the past people were beheaded there; then it became a monastery until the Reformation, and eventually a fortress used by Germans in World War II.

Trondheim is a charming city with much more for visitors to see and do. Even though our visit wasn’t long enough, we’ll always remember the royal cavalcade and a glimpse of the reigning monarchs.
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier



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