Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway (Norwegian: Kongeriket Norge or Kongeriket Noreg) is a Nordic country on the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, bordering Sweden, Finland and Russia. Norway has a very elongated shape; the country's extensive coastline along the North Atlantic Ocean is home to its famous fjords. The Kingdom of Norway also includes the Arctic island territories of Svalbard and Jan Mayen. The Norwegian sovereignty on Svalbard is based on the Svalbard Treaty, but this does not apply to Jan Mayen. Bouvet Island in the South Atlantic Ocean and a claim for Peter I Island in the South Pacific Ocean are also external dependencies, but these are not part of the Kingdom. Norway also claims Queen Maud Land in Antarctica.
The landscape is generally rugged and mountainous, with several major glaciers occupying central mountain plateau. Norway is bounded by seas of the North Atlantic Ocean: the North Sea to the southwest and its large inlet the Skagerrak to the south, and the Norwegian Sea to the west. In the northeast is the Barents Sea, part of the Arctic Ocean. To the east, in order from south to north, it shares a long border with Sweden, a shorter one with Finland, and a still shorter one with Russia.
Norwegians celebrate their national day on May 17, Constitution Day.
Population is sparse outside the main centers, but Norway is sufficiently large and regionally diverse to warrant geographical division here. There are five defined regions: Southern Norway (including Oslo); Fjordland and the Southwest; the uplands of Oppland and Hedmark; Central Norway; and the arctic North.
Norway is the home of several famous playwrights and novelists, among others Baron Ludvig Holdberg, Henrik Ibsen, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson and more recently, Jon Fosse and Georg Johannesen. The playwright/novelists Knut Hamsun and Sigrid Undset have all won the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1903, 1920 and 1928 respectively. Norway is the homeland of expressionist painter Edvard Munch and the sculptor Gustav Vigeland and romanticist composer Edvard Grieg. Many Norwegians have explored the farthest corners of the earth, i.e. Roald Amundsen, Fridtjof Nansen, and Thor Heyerdahl.
Norwegian language has two official written forms: bokmål and nynorsk, but no official spoken norm; this situation is a subject of heavy discussion.
More than 85% of the population belong to the state church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway. Other Christian communities active in Norway include Baptists, Pentecostalists, Methodists and Roman Catholics. However, only 3% of the total population attend regular church services on Sundays. The largest non-Christian religion in Norway is Islam.
Norway’s scenery is its main attraction, particularly the fjords of the southwest and the North Cape (Nordkapp) which is a popular spot from which to observe the Midnight Sun of midsummer. However, the principal cities, among them Oslo (the capital), Bergen and Trondheim, offer a good choice of museums, historical sites and architectural interest for the visitor. The often mountainous inland countryside is ideal for those in search of true wilderness. Unless winter sport is the reason for visiting the country, its appeal is strongest in the months between May and September. Following are the places of attraction of visitors.
The Oslo Fjord, Surrounding Oslo Fjord are the Fylker (counties) of Åkershus, Buskerud, Østfold and Telemark, all within a day trip of the capital. These are dotted with historic and prehistoric sites of varying importance, along with manor houses, stone churches (most are built of wood in Norway) and fortifications.
Fjordland and the Southwest, Unquestionably, Fjordland and the Southwest is Norway’s most important tourist area, due to its scenery. Many visitors arrive on cruise ships working their way north along the coast from Stavanger via Haugesund to Bergen and the best known fjord of all, Sognefjorden. Førdefjorden, Hardanger Fjord and Nordfjord are among other notable scenic attractions in the region.
Bergen, Former Hanseatic port and medieval Norwegian capital, the city’s appeal centers on the Hanseatic Bryggen harbor-side district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with many buildings dating from the 17th century and earlier. Cable cars take visitors to the summit of Mount Ulriken, and a funicular railway climbs Mount Fløyen to give outstanding views over the city and coastline. Museums abound, and there is a large aquarium. Additionally, a broad choice of boat excursions plies the waters around the city, which is Norway’s busiest tourist destination.
Stavanger, Center of the country’s North Sea oil industry, Stavanger is Norway’s fourth largest city after Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim, with 96,000 inhabitants. Old Stavanger is Europe’s largest collection of wooden buildings. Other attractions here include the Norwegian Oil Museum, the unique Fish Cannery Museum (complete with sprat-smokehouse), and the Rogaland Art Gallery.
Oppland and Hedmark, Central southern Norway, comprising Oppland and Hedmark, is a land of mountains, spectacular glacial valleys, including Gudbrandsdal (one of Norway’s longest and most beautiful), and high plateau.
Lillehammer, The country’s biggest skiing and winter sports center, offering both Alpine and Nordic disciplines, Lillehammer stands on the banks of the Mjøsa Lake, Norway’s largest with an area of 362 sq km (140 sq miles), and which reputedly conceals a ‘Loch Ness’ monster. Among non-winter-specific attractions in the town are the Norwegian Olympic Museum, the Maihaugen Open Air Museum (which features a collection of over 170 historic buildings from the Gudbrandsdal area), and the Art Museum, with its extensive Norwegian collections.
Hamar contains the Hedmark Museum, dedicated to the medieval period. There is also a Museum of Holography, unique in Norway, and the Olympic Hall, which staged skating events during the 1994 Winter Olympics. The Cathedral, restored in 1954, has origins dating back to the 11th century dawn of Norwegian Christianity.
Trondheim, The Norway’s early capital has a number of major attractions, not least the Nidarosdomen Cathedral, which dates from the late 11th century. Built over St Olav’s grave, it has been a center of pilgrimage since medieval times. Elsewhere, the Ringve Museum is famous for its collection of rare historic musical instruments, while the Trøndelag Folk Museum incorporates the ruins of a 12th-century castle. Stiftsgården, the Trondheim palace of the Norwegian Royal Family, is a fine 18th-century wooden building in the city center. Across the river stands the Kristiansten Festning fortress. The former island monastery of Munkholmen in the fjord is a popular boat excursion.
Røros is a small but picturesque mountain town near the Swedish border; from the 17th century until the 1980s it had been a copper mining and smelting settlement. Principal attractions are the Old Town, the wooden church and the Mining Museum. Close to Røros is Olavsgruva, an early mine now open to visitors.
Tromsø spectacularly straddles Tromsøy Sound. It boasts the world’s most northerly brewery, and even a professional football team. The Tromsø Museum, 4km (2.5 miles) from the city center, features archaeological and historical displays, while the City Museum concentrates on development of the settlement. The 43m (140ft) high Tromsø Bridge across the Sound affords good views of the surroundings.
Bodø, The Norwegian National Aviation Center is a prime attraction here, as is a climb for the views from Rønvikfjell Mountain, which rises 3km (1.9 miles) outside the city center. The world’s most powerful maelstrom, Saltstraumen, and a multimedia visitor center dedicated to the phenomenon, are 33km (21 miles) east of Bodø.
Mo-i-rana, Northern Norway’s third largest, and most southerly town of any size is a popular stopping off point for visitors keen to explore the coastline, the mountains and nearby glaciers. It also offers the Nordland Museum of Nature.
NORWAY National Animal : Moose (Called "Elk" in Europe
NORWAY National Bird : Dipper
NORWAY National Flower : Pruple Heather Calluna vulgaris
NORWAY National Game : Cross- Country Skiing
Norway National Name : Kingdom of Norway
National Capital : Oslo
Norway Area : Approx. 323,802n Sq Km (125,021 Sq. Mi), 0.22% of total
Norway Population : 4,896,900 in 2010 (0.07% in total)
Ethnicity in Norway : Norwegian, Sami 20,000
Norway Languages : Norwegian (official). note: small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities
Religions in Norway: Evangelical Lutheran 86% (state church), Pentecostal 1%, Roman Catholic 1%, other Christian 2% (2004)
Currency : Norwegian Krone ,NOK
Time Zone :