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Sightseeing in Trondheim

The best view of Trondheim is from atop the 400 ft- high Tyholt Tower, and for a view of Trondheim from the sea, a boat ride to Munkholmen , a historic sight is recommended. For a closer and more intimate feel, it’s hard to beat a leisurely stroll through Bakklandet - a melange of old wooden houses, quaint cafés and small shops which is quite endearing. Alternately, you could stroll down the wharves- a wonderfully old-fashioned locality imbued with sepia tinted history. The wooded mountain area of Bymarka, on the periphery of the city is a great place to explore on foot.

After a devastating fire destroyed most of Trondheim in the late 17th century, a stone fortress, the Kristiansen Fort was built to act as the main citadel.

Built atop an incline, the Kristiansten Fort commands an excellent view of the city and its surroundings and has an interesting history, involving defense against marauding Spaniards in the 18th century and World War II when the fort was occupied by the Nazis, who used it as an execution ground for members of the Norwegian Resistance. The fort and its rooms are open to the public only between June and August, but the grounds can be visited any time of the year.

One of the best museums in Norway, the Sunnmøre Museum is situated about 2 miles from the city itself. For about 500 years between 1000 and 1500 AD Borghundkaupangen was Norway’s most important ecclesiastical settlement. Although the settlement’s status declined in the Middle Ages, it’s again a well-visited site now, largely because of the excellent Sunnmøre Open-Air Museum that stands here. The museum comprises some 50-odd buildings, some going back to the Middle Ages, and some only a century old. Among the most unusual buildings are the interesting boat-halls, which house about 30 boats of different types- the largest such collection in the country.

The national shrine, the site of coronation, light streaming past stained glass, gloriously Gothic in parts and many more styles in other parts, the Nidaros Cathedral is fabulous. Easily the most spectacular and historic of Norway’s churches, the Cathedral dates back to 1070, when the building of the church began at the site of the grave of Norway’s patron saint, St Olav.

Nothing actually remains of the original church, which suffered the ravages of time; the present structure is one that has been built and rebuilt a number of times, after repeated destruction, mostly by fire.Some parts of Nidaros Cathedral are as old as the 12th century, but most of it is more recent and gloriously Gothic. The church is open to visitors; there are also weekly organ recitals through the year, and at specified dates, the crown jewels are put on display in the church.

Not quite as spectacular or historic as the Nidaros Cathedral, the Vår Frue Kirke (Church of Our Lady) is beautiful in its own right with its old carved walls. Although the church’s foundations were laid in the 1100s, the passing centuries have left little of the original building intact; what you see today dates back largely to the 18th century, when extensive repair and reconstruction was done.

Amongst the most historic buildings in Norway, and in Scandinavia, is the Archbishop’s Palace in Trondheim. The construction of the palace began in the 12th century, making this the oldest secular building in all of Scandinavia. For close to three hundred years, the palace remained the official residence of the archbishop, and later became the official residence of the Danish governors in Norway. The Archbishop’s Palace Museum is one of the finest in the country and has on display a large selection of items related to the history of Trondheim, and the palace in particular. Especially notable are the sculptures from the Nidaros Cathedral, and the archbishop’s coin workshop - the latter exactly as it was discovered in excavations.

The only music museum in Norway, the Ringve Museum is one of the best of its kind in Europe. Situated in a large estate on the Lade Peninsula, the museum houses a fascinating collection of musical instruments and music from across the world. The Ringve is divided into two sections, the `Museum in the Manor House’ featuring a highbrow selection of instruments, mainly European, for which you’ll need a guide to take you around, and the `fun section’, the `Museum in the Barn’. `The Museum in the Barn’ (housed in what was once the barn) holds a collection of musical instruments with some open to visitor tinkling, a music room where you can relax, and an entire section on the history of music. The Museum in the Barn is a lively and colourful section, with light and sound effects to guide you through. The grounds around the museum have been laid out as botanical gardens.

The winner of an eccentric unofficial competition among Trondheim’s rich widows to build the largest and most useless building in town, Stiftsgården has the distinction of being Scandinavia’s largest wooden building. The palace was built in the last years of the 18th century by a privy councillor called Cecilie Christine Schøller and was sold to the Norwegian government in 1800, and has been, since 1906, the official royal residence in Trondheim. Stiftsgården remains closed during royal visits, but are open to tourists the rest of the year, and a tour through the palace’s interesting Baroque and Rococo interiors can be a very pleasant experience.

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