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Akershus Fortress ( ) or Akershus Castle ( ) is the old castle built to protect Oslomarker, the capital of Norwaymarker. It has also been used as a prison.

Construction

The first work on the castle started around the late 1290s, by King Håkon V, replacing Tønsbergmarker as one of the two most important Norwegian castles of the period (the other being Båhusmarker). It was constructed in response to the Norwegian nobleman, Earl Alv Erlingsson of Sarpsborgmarker’s earlier attack on Oslo.

Military usage

The fortress has successfully survived many sieges, primarily by Swedishmarker forces. In the early 17th c., the fortress was modernized and remodeled under the reign of the active King Christian IV, and got the appearance of a renaissance castle.

The fortress was first used in battle in 1308, when it was besieged by the Swedish duke Erik of Södermanlandmarker, who later in the same year won the Swedish throne. The immediate proximity of the sea was a key feature, for naval power was a vital military force as the majority of Norwegian commerce in that period was by sea. The fortress was strategically important for the capital, and therefore, Norwaymarker as well. Whoever ruled Akershus fortress ruled Norway.
The German surrender of Akershus Fortress on 11 May 1945.
The fortress has never been successfully captured by a foreign enemy. 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 Denmarkmarker and Norway (see Operation Weserübung). During World War II, several people were executed here by the German occupiers. After the war, eight Norwegian traitors who had been tried for war crimes and sentenced to death were also executed at the fortress. Among those executed was Vidkun Quisling.

Prison

Akershus has also been a prison, a section of it known as The Slavery ( ) as the prisoners could be rented out for work in the city. It has housed many rebels and criminals through Norwegian history. Particularly well-known people to have been imprisoned there includes the semi-legendary "thief of the people" and author Gjest Baardsen (1791-1849), and the similarly idealized thief Ole Høiland. Also, many early Norwegian socialists (supporters of Marcus Thrane, 1817-1890) also spent time in the cells of Akershus.

Kautokeino rebellion prisoners

Following the 1852 Laestadian Sámi revolt in Guovdageaidnu, all men except the two leaders Aslak Hætta and Mons Somby (who were beheaded in Alta) ended up in Akershus Fortress - the women were imprisoned in Trondheimmarker. Many of the rebels died after a few years in captivity. Among the survivors was Lars Hætta (18 years at the time of imprisonment), who during his stay was allowed time and means to write the first translation of the Bible into North Sámi.

Current usage

Akershus fortress is still a military area, but is open to the public daily until 9pm. In addition to the castle, the Norwegian Armed Forces museum and the Norwegian Resistance museum can be visited there.The Norwegian Ministry of Defencemarker and Defence Staff Norway (armed forces headquarters) have a joint modern headquarter in the eastern part of Akershus Fortress.
Norwegian Royalty have been buried in the Royal Mausoleum in the castle. They include, King Sigurd I, King Haakon V, Queen Eufemia, King Haakon VII, Queen Maud, King Olav V and Crown Princess Märtha.

Commanders of Akershus fortress

The year is that in which they first took command.

Facts and Figures

  • A portion of the fortress was replicated at the Norway marker pavilion at Epcot Centermarker theme park in Orlando, Florida.


Gallery

Image:AkershusFestningVintermorgen.jpg|The fortress right in the middle of Oslo HarbourImage:Akershus_castle_churc.jpg|Inside the Akershus fortress churchImage:Akershus castle Oslo.jpg|Akershus CastleImage:Akershus_castle.jpg|Akershus fortress seen from the westImage:ArmouryDoor.JPG|The Armoury door

Some pictures

References



See also




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