Stavanger, the oil capital of Norway, is actually a medieval city. Although it didn't gain city status until 1125 when construction of the beautiful medieval cathedral began, the area has been populated for over 10,000 years.
The city is an exciting combination of old and new. Narrow lanes and white timber houses are all in well preserved traditional style, from classic style to funkis. It is a modern city with a wide variety of shops, cafes and restaurants. Contrast characterises this city, the people who live there, the surrounding landscape - and the weather! All this makes Stavanger a pleasant and very charming city.
Photo: Terje Rakke/NTR
Stavanger is also the centre of higher education in Rogaland county. It has a number of cultural institutions including international, British and French schools because of the great influx of foreigners connected to the oil industry and to the "Emigration Centre for Genealogical Studies and Contact Between Norway and North America". The Canning Museum is the only one of its kind in the world and testifies to what has been an important industry for Stavanger. Among the many other attractions are the theatre and the symphonic orchestra that has its home in the beautifully situated Kulturhuset.
By boat you can reach the lovely islands of Kvitsøy, where the fjord meets the open sea. If you travel into Lysefjord, you will come to the strange and magnificent mount formation called Pulpit Rock. Utstein monastery outside of Stavanger is Norway's best preserved. Magnus Lagabøter built it in the year 1200. Originally a royal residence, it was later a Danish style manor. Concerts are held in the chapel, and during the summer months you may be fortunate to hear famous musicians perform here.
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Festivals & Events
Kristiansund Opera Festival, February
The Kristiansund Opera Festival is hosted and produced by the district opera in the city of Kristiansund. It runs for 14 days and has been staged in February every year since 1972. The festival presents a comprehensive menu within musical theatre and offers two to three opera productions, large church music productions, ballet and concerts.
Førde Folk Music Festival, July
Over 250 artists perform music and dances from all corners of the world, around the clock! Concerts, courses, exhibitions, club nights, festival parades, dance fun. There are festival activities going on at local museums, hotels, churches and in the downtown streets, leading to more than 80 events.
The Peer Gynt Festival, August
The Peer Gynt Festival is a ten day long cultural festival with an open air performance of Henrik Ibsens Peer Gynt, with music by Edvard Grieg, open air consert "Ved Rondane", art exhibition, and much more.
The Hamsun Festival, August
The Hamsun Festival has been arranged every other year since 1982 with a focus on Knut Hamsun's literar work, his life and ties with this part of Norway. The festival is held on the island of Hamarøy, where visitors can enjoy the scenery and the local indigenous colour that characterises much of Hamsun's literary work.
Lillehammer Jazz Festival, October
The Lillehammer Jazz Festival is considered one of autumn's most beautiful adventures. The festival profiles Norwegian and Nordic jazz, but has always included renown foreign performers as well.
The Festival of North Norway, June
The Festival of North Norway is the most important art event in Northern Norway. During a hectic week the town of Harstad, located 300 km north of the Arctic circle, is turned into a cultural melting pot for artists with completely different outlooks.
The Northern Lights Festival, January
Each year, in the middle of January, Tromsø comes to life after the long polar night. The programme offers music in concert halls, churches and pubs, as well as dance, theatre and music ensembles of different sizes and types.
Tromsø Film Festival, January
Tromsø International Film Festival is Norway's largest film festival. It is the world's northern-most film festival and presents a cutting-egde international program, consisting of more than 40 feature films plus the latest in short films produced in northern Norway.
Telemark Folk Festival, August
The Telemark Festival presents traditional folk music from all over the world. With more than 50 concerts and work-shops for all ages one can learn traditional Norwegian dances, play a traditional instrument or study with our guests from abroad.
Oslo Jazz Festival, August
The Oslo Jazz Festival has been an annual event since 1986 and has grown to more than 60 concerts taking place in six days. The Festival presents the elite of Norwegian musicians in traditional, swing, modern and bebop styles, as well as many world famous performers.
Ibsen Culture Festival
The Festival offers pieces and impressions produced by great artists both from Norway and abroad. There are performances in the great Teater Ibsen and events in the town's art galleries and cultural venues. Young people from all over Norway participate in Ibsenstafetten.
The Ibsen Stage Festival, September
The Ibsen Stage Festival in Norway is one of the most significant international festivals in the country, receiving attention far beyond the national boundaries. Actors from all over the world arrive to meet Ibsen at center stage.