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A trip to Fredrikstad Gamlebyen


Last Sunday I had a trip to Fredrikstad Old Town. Fredrikstad is a city in Østfold and just one and a half hour drive from Oslo. It is founded and named after King Frederik II of Denmark and the later stad means city. Fredrikstad is a cosy city and homes the best and prettiest preserved fortress town in Scandinavia. It is called in norwegian as Gamlebyen which means old fortified town. This is a much visited sight that was once an important trading center.

A monument for the Danish King, Frederik II in Fredrikstad Gamlebyen

A monument for the Danish King.

An enchanting vibe upon entering the Old Town. Fredrikstad Gamlebyen

An enchanting vibe upon entering the Old Town.

Historical Insight

The Old Town was built in 1663 primarily for trading but then became a military enclave. If you will see this little place from above, it has a star shaped fortress system, with wide water-filled moats, deep earth walls and river Glomma at the end. It was built according to the old Dutch-system. No wonder while I was walking, I feel like the place was similar to the canals in Netherlands.

The Dutch old system of drawbridges in Old Town. Fredrikstad Gamlebyen

The Dutch old system of drawbridges.

Surrounding the star shaped town were real cannons. Fredrikstad Gamlebyen

Surrounding the star shaped town were real cannons.

Glomma river and Arch bridge of Fredrikstad Gamlebyen

The Glomma is the longest and largest river in Norway. And the Fredrikstad Bridge is an arch one that connects the eastern and western part of the city. The photo above is where people ride the ferry to the other side of the city. Its a free ride for everyone.

Touristic Perspective

The great atmosphere of this Old Town is surrounded by old traditional houses, narrow cobblestone streets and drawbridges. The perimeter walls is surrounded by real cannons which will give you historical aspect of the place. Inside the town people can visit the Fredrikstad Museum, the Glass Hut, art galleries, the Cathedral and The Art Center Bastion 5. Fredrikstad Gamlebyen is picturesque with its narrow streets and alleys, 17-th century buildings, colorful houses and unique shops, mostly secondhand stores, and cozy cafes, where both locals and tourists meet. Many locals actually live inside the Old Town, which I think give the place authenticity from other touristic place.

Medieval street in Fredrikstad Gamlebyen

Enchanting vibe while walking in the streets.

Oestre Fredrikstad Church Gamlebyen

Oestre Fredrikstad Church. This is the cathedral inside the Old Town.

Friendly locals at Fredrikstad  Gamlebyen

We had a great time talking with one of the locals living inside the Old Town. She was very friendly and imparts a lot of information about the fortified town. And she have an adorable dog.

Munitions were kept underground to muffle the effect of explosions in Fredrikstad Gamlebyen

Munitions were kept underground to muffle the effect of explosions. My Ukrainian friend, Natalia meditating on one of them.

The Old Town is worth a visit for a day trip. The length of walking around  is just approximately 2 km and you can see everything in one and a half hours time. Norwegians usually described Fredrikstad as a warm city. The reason is it’s the most sunny geographical area in Norway. For a sunny Sunday, relaxing under the sun and just enjoying the ambience of this little town is the best thing I did last weekend. This place is truly a gem of Norway.

Directions at Fredrikstad Gamlebyen

You will never get lost inside the Fortified Town.

Adorable souvenir shop to buy a postcard at Fredrikstad Gamlebyen

Adorable souvenir shop to buy a postcard.

Relaxing under the sun at Fredrikstad Gamlebyen

I took advantage of the good weather and enjoyed the sun in the warmest city of Norway.


Most pictures were taken by my Colombian friend Camila Vela and some are from my iphone. 

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