Fredrikstad Tourist Information
41 Tøihusgaten, Fredrikstad, Norway
69 30 46 00
Fredrikstad Tourist Information Reviews
Step back in time in Gamlebyen Nov 11, 2009
Step back in time by travelling south east from Oslo, to Fredrikstad. 90 km from Oslo you will find the town of Fredrikstad that has a historic OLDTOWN worthy of a visit.
For many years, a medieval fortress in the Old Town, GAMLEBYEN housed the Danish and Norwegian armies guarding this town, and is still extremely well preserved with bastions, rampart gateways, trenches, and even a 1667 drawbridge still intact.
Moreover, at the small museum in the Old Town, I found a contemporary exhibition of authentic Norwegian Telemark Rosemaling. Based on Baroque acanthus forms, this peasant art developed its own distinctive, dynamic style and is still popular, albeit very expensive.
Dragging myself away from the exhibition, I realized there is much more to inspire one in the colours of the town itself. Set against the picturesque backdrop of the star shaped moat, a Church green and many brightly painted wooden houses lining cobblestone street. The Gamlebyen (or Old Town) is a popular venue for community events and weddings. If luck is on your side, you might catch a glimpse, as I did, of wedding guests wearing their folk costume. The Bunad is comprised of a woollen skirt or trousers, with a richly embroidered blouse and vest, and like Rosemaling, each district has its own style.
If you visit on a Saturday in summer, there is a fascinating market in the Torvet or town square. Tourists browsing here will find an extra suitcase is needed to take home the sorts of treasures Norwegians toss out: like turned bowls wooden trays, and stove plates.
It was easy to imagine what life was like in Fredriktad as a historic society re-enacted the battle of 1704 when I was there. Peasants and Norwegian soldiers in full period costume marched into a mock battle, with bayonets fixed, bugles sounding and drums beating the march. I also spotted the intriguing Infanterikasermen, or Calendar House, which is a wonder of military architecture from 1788. Constructed as Infantry Barracks, the building comprises 52 rooms representing each week in the calendar year, 12 chimneys for each month, 365 windows for each day, and 24 panes of glass in each window, representing the hours in a day, even 60 doors for the minutes in every hour. The military have since moved out and a school occupies the building.
If you visit in winter be sure to have a cup of delicious soup followed by bøller (sweet buns) at the cafe/bakery. Cosy atmosphere and light meals and coffee at affordable prices, even for Norway.
How to get there:
Catch the 5 minute ferry acrss the Glomma river, near the railway station for a nomimal amount. Ferries run regularly throughout the year. Nice inexpensive meals can be had in the cafes and bakery. Markets and exhibitions held in summer.
A delightful day trip from Oslo by train bus or car
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