Norway is predominately mountainous, with a coastline broken by huge fjords and thousands of small islands. The country is home to the natural phenomena of the Midnight Sun (24-hour periods of sunlight experienced north of the Arctic Circle during summer), as well as the 'Aurora borealis' - the Northern Lights. The first inhabitants of Norway date from the 10th century BCE, following the last Ice Age; Vikings date from the 8th century CE. Norway has a population of 5.4 million living in Oslo, the capital founded in 1000CE, the cities of Stavanger, Bergen, and Tronheim, and in smaller coastal towns and valleys. The indigenous Sámi people live in the far north of the country.
Traditional Art, Music, Dance, and Architecture
Rosemaling is a well known form of Norwegian decorative folk art painting which was especially popular during the 17th-19th centuries. It was used to decorate walls and ceilings in traditional wooden buildings, and wooden household objects such as bowls, stools, chairs, cupboards, and boxes.
Norway has a strong folk music tradition. Instrumental folk music is typically used for social dances which are often connected to the important events of rural life: weddings, funerals, and annual feasts such as Christmas. Folk songs are also an important traditional form of vocal music in Norway.
The Hardanger fiddle - hardingfele is a traditional stringed considered to be a national musical instrument of Norway. This type of highly decorated 8 or 9 string fiddle is very similar to the violin. 4 of the strings are strung and bowed like a violin, and the 'sympathetic' strings resonate below the fingerboard.
Traditional cobblestone street with wooden houses in old Stavanger.
The youth orchestra I played in during the 1960s visited Norway from England to play with the youth orchestra from Stavanger. We played together in a concert in Kristiansand Cathedral, and spent time in Stavanger, including a memorable visit to 'Pulpit Rock' - Preikestolen: 1,982 feet (604m) above Lysefjorden. I am not good with heights so I stayed away from the edge.