Most people primarily associate Norway with fjords, the Northern Lights and a severe Northern climate. However, it’s worth taking a closer look at this country and its inhabitants, since it holds many surprises.

Trondheim is situated more or less in the centre of Norway. The city has about 160,000 residents and a wonderful history of Vikings, a large dose of modernity and a wonderful combination of Norwegian nature and unforgettable views. Trondheim is located at the mouth of the Nidelva River on the Trondheimsfjorden - a gulf of the Norwegian Sea, which is the third-largest fjord in Norway.

The city's previous name, given to it by the Viking king, Olaf Tryggvason, in about the year 1000, was Kaupangen, although soon afterwards it gained the name Nidaros due to the mouth of the Nidelva River. There were numerous protests, and as a result of a referendum in 1928, the city settled on the name Trondheim. For many years, the city was the seat of kings, Vikings and the first parliament, and also the capital of Norway until 1217. All of this was due to its strategic location on the bay, near a wide, fertile valley.

The river is the border between the historic part of the city, which lies in a small triangle, and the modern part. The central point of the historic part is Torvet, the main market square, dominated by a statue of Saint Olaf, the Norwegian king who abolished slavery, limited the power of the aristocracy and introduced Christianity to the country. Streets lead from the square, along which we will find classic wooden houses interspersed with buildings in a more modern style, which leaves an impression of architectural disorder on some people. Near the square, we’ll find Stiftsgarden, the former royal residence, which is one of the largest wooden buildings in Scandinavia. The 58-metre-long facade makes an unforgettable impression, and for tourists who like the Rococo style, it is recommended to visit the interior with a guide. A short walk from the centre will allow us to admire the amazing view of Nidarosdomen - the Nidaros Cathedral, which is the largest medieval monument in Norway. This is also the burial place of King Olaf Haraldsson, who was later beatified. The entire cathedral makes an enormous impression, and the ornamental rose window on the front of the building is one of its most beautiful elements.

Trondheim has a particularly beautiful panorama when it is seen from above. One recommend two places which guarantee wonderful views and which will delight every photographer. The first of these is the Tyholt tower - a domineering TV and radio tower visible from everywhere, which, after the Nidaros Cathedral, is the most popular place for tourists to visit. The tower is 124 metres tall, and at 74 metres there is the Egon Restaurant, serving American and Italian food as well as dishes for people with allergies. The top of the tower can be reached only by elevator, which is why during tourist season there are huge queues in front of the tower. It’s open every day from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm. The second place that must be visited is Kristiansten. This tower, built in 1681, allows you to admire the wonderful panorama of the city and its surrounding landscape of mountains and fjords. It serves as an ideal backdrop for photos. The tower has been preserved in excellent condition, allowing visitors to become more acquainted with the city's history.

The city's public transportation system is worthy of attention, due to the fact that Trondheim is the world’s northernmost city with a streetcar system. The truth is that currently there is only one streetcar line running between St. Olav’s Gate and Bymarka, but this nearly 9-km route has 21 stops. In summer, historic streetcars travel this route every Saturday. There are also many bus lines running all over the city from every direction and going to the furthest parts of the city. Similarities with Holland occur to us when we see the colourful facades of the city’s wooden houses. Another shared trait is the excellently developed bicycle culture. In the 1990s, the city established many bike paths which led to an increase in popularity of this means of transportation, even surpassing cars. The topography of the city's territory led a certain Jarle Wanvik to build the world’s only lift for bicycles. This unusual invention, since the day of its creation, has pulled over 200,000 cyclists and is a wonderful tourist attraction. It’s worth pointing out that the city has 125 bike-rental spots, and tourists can go to the Tourist Information where they can receive a card enabling them to make use of this means of transportation for free.

Formerly, Norway was an extremely poor region, and the severe climate meant that the inhabitants had to find ways to preserve food products for the long, harsh winter. These factors contributed to the character of Norwegian cuisine and caused it to be full of intriguing dishes and flavour combinations. Most dishes contain meat and fish, preserved in one of three basic ways: drying (forking), smoking (roking) or salting (salting). People usually associate fish the most strongly with Norwegian cuisine, and above all salmon, which isn’t completely true, since cod is equally popular here. All fish are served in several ways, for example as tartare, smoked, grilled or with pasta. Visiting one of the numerous restaurants, it's worth trying some fish, since they have a completely different taste here than elsewhere. Local cuisine also contains dishes which one can consider extreme, such as smalahoved - the head and legs of a sheep served with potato dumplings, and lutefisk - fish that is first dried and then soaked in lye and boiled.

Tags: Norway