The Royal Palace was completed in 1849 and has served as the residence of the Norwegian monarch since then. The palace grounds, behind the palace, are open to the public and provide a beautiful, serene park.
Approaching the Royal Palace
Looking down Karl Johans gate toward the Central Train Station
Grounds in front of the palace
The Palace Park was opened in 1847, two years before the palace was completed, and has been open to the public year round since that time. Most of the trees in the park were planted in 1842 and the Garden Section of the Royal Palace is now working to restore some of the park's original diversity.
We exit out the back of the Royal Park and continue walking west toward the Vigeland Park, the world's largest sculpture park featuring a single artist. Gustav Vigeland devoted his life to creating the over 200 sculptures in the park, working in bronze, granite, and wrought iron. On our way to the park, we admire the great residential neighborhoods of Oslo.
We enter Vigeland Park through the main gate, built of granite and wrought iron and marking the start of the 850 meter (1/2 mile) path over a bridge to the fountain, on to a monolith, and ending at the Wheel of Life.
Main gate, path through the park
As we wander further into the park, the great statues appear, first lining the 100-meter-long (328-foot-long) bridge with 58 bronze statues, then around the fountain, where 20 groups show the life of man from cradle to grave. The park notes that, "Our time on earth is at the same time only a part of an eternal cycle with no beginning and no end. After the tree group with the skeleton which is about to decay in nature, follows a tree full of children: From death arises new life."
Statues on the bridge
After the Fountain, the Monolith occupies the highest point in the park and consists of 121 figures carved from a single granite block.
At the far end of the park, The Wheel of Life is a symbol of eternity and is executed as a garland of women, children, and men holding on to each other.
The Wheel of Life
On our walk back through the park, we admire the gardens and fields surrounding the sculptures, as we leave this amazing site.
Gardens and fields in the park
We head back down the city streets, on our way to the Viking museums, 4.1 km (2.5 miles) away.