The Observatory

The University of Oslo's Observatory, built in 1833

Initially completed in 1833, the Observatory is the oldest part of Oslo University. In 1834, Christopher Hansteen moved into the building and conducted scientific measurements and astronomical observations for the annual Norwegian almanac. Thanks to him, Oslo (then called Kristiania) moved toward standard time, weights, and maps.


Designed by architect Christian Heinrich Grosch, the Observatory is a three-story building done in a neoclassical style (like most of the university buildings from that time). The focal point of the building is an ornately-decorated rotunda that led to the observation rooms.

Bust of Christopher Hansteen at the University of Oslo's Observatory

Bust of Christopher Hansteen at the Observatory

The Observatory was recently refurbished to commemorate the University of Oslo’s 200th anniversary and is now adorned with instruments and decor from Hansteen’s time. Much of the 19th-century technology was reinstated, such as the mechanically-controlled opening roof in the Astronomical Tower (below).

The astronomical tower at the University of Oslo's Observatory

The Observatory’s Astronomical Tower

The Meridian Room

Perhaps the most important room in the history of the Observatory, the Meridian Room is where Hansteen determined the longitude of Kristiania through fastidious observations of the North Star and collaboration with the Royal Society in London. Initially, he intended for the 0-degree (meridian) line to pass through this room; but the Englishmen beat him by having it in Greenwich (on the outskirts of London) instead.

The meridian room at the University of Oslo's Observatory

The roof and windows open up for a 360-degree view of Oslo - from north to south.

The roof and windows open up for a 360-degree view of Oslo – from north to south

As the city expanded, the Observatory no longer stands unobstructed on the hilltop. Though it is no longer used for looking at the stars, the Observatory serves as a significant historical and architectural site in Norway’s past journey to become a sovereign nation.

Trysil, Norway’s ultimate ski destination

A few weeks ago, I went on a weekend trip to Trysil, the largest ski resort in Norway. Located about 200 km (2.5 hours by car) northeast of Oslo, the resort is run by Skistar and occupies the Trysilfjellet mountain.

Radisson Blu Resort, Trysil

We stayed at the Radisson Blu Resort behind the Tourist Centre for the duration of our time in Trysil and found the location extremely convenient, as there was only a short walk to the ski lifts and buses to the downtown area. Most of the rooms have a nice view of the slopes outside.

The hotel has several restaurants on its premises, as well as facilities such as spa, swimming pool, and bowling alley. On the right side of the lobby, there is a large ski shop for guests’ last-minute ski needs. Between the bar and the reception, there is a large lounge area as well as a round table with a fire pit in the centre.

Downtown Trysil

Though there are buses from downtown Trysil to the slopes, their running times are limited and are mostly designed to get you to the slopes and back. Since Trysil is a ski town, there is not much to do here other than snow sports. The downtown area was mostly devoid of activity but can be worth a trip if you want different food than that offered at the mountain hotels.

Trysil-Knut monument in Trysil

Trysil City Hall

Trysil City Hall

Trysil Ski Museum

Trysil Ski Museum

We stopped by Trysil Hotel to check out the microbrewery located there, but it seemed like the workers had gone skiing.

Trysil hotel

The microbrewery inside Trysil Hotel

The microbrewery inside Trysil Hotel

Because of the later sunrise and earlier sunset during the ski season, skiing in Norway ends earlier than in many other ski destinations. Around 4 PM, the on-mountain pubs begin to fill with people in ski gear looking to unwind after a day in the slopes. This Norwegian “afterski” closely resembles clubbing, just in the afternoon and with ski gear.

Overall, I had a nice time in Trysil but wish that I could ski better so that I could fully enjoy the resort. There are plenty more things to do here in the summer as well, so I could imagine returning then 🙂