Akershus Fortress (Akershus Festning in Norwegian language) is a medieval castle that was built around the late 1290s by King Haakon V to protect Oslo. In that time, it became clear that the city’s existing defences weren’t effective and therefore a stronger defensive centre was needed.
Akershus Fortress has never successfully been besieged by a foreign enemy. However it surrendered without combat to Nazi Germany in 1940 when the Norwegian government evacuated the capital in the face of the unprovoked German assault on Denmark and Norway. Akershus Fortress has also been a prison, with a section of it known as The Slavery because the prisoners could be rented out for work in the city.
Today Akershus fortress is still a military area but is open to the public daily until 21:00. In addition to the castle, the Norwegian Armed Forces Museum and Norway’s Resistance Museum can be visited there.
From the big west and south-west facing walls of the fortress one is rewarded with a magical view over the Oslofjord with its islands and of Aker Brygge, a popular residential area for shopping, dining and entertainment. I chose the Akershus Fortress for one of my winter photo sessions as the sunset seen from there is always marvellous and with magnificent colours!