County; Vest-Agder fylke.
Altitude: sea level. Population: 60,000.
Postal code: N-4600. Telephone code: 0 42. TNTuristkontor,
Gyldenlovesgate 31; tel. 2 60 65.
HOTELS. Caledonien, 400 Ernst, 150 Fregatten, 110 Christian Quart, 200 Metropoe, 21 b.: Bondeheimen, 46 Norge, 130 b.
YOUTH HOSTEL: Roligheden, 3 km (2 miles) SE. Two CAMP SITES.
The port of Kristiansand is on a level and almost square peninsula in the Skagerrak at the mouth of the Tor-ridalselv (the lower course of the Otra). The town was founded by Christian IV in 1641, burned down on several occasions (most recently in 1892) and then rebuilt on a regular grid plan. It is the administrative capital of the county of Vest-Agder and the see of a bishop; its main sources of employment are industry and shipping.
SIGHTS. In the middle of the town is the Market Square (Torget) in which stands the neo-Gothic Cathedral (1882-5): fine interior (open only 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; beautiful altar). In the adjoining gardens is a monument by Vigeland to the poet H. Wergeland (1808-45), a native of the town, and on the E side of the square a bronze statue of King Hakon VII (1872-1957).
On the SW side of the town is the West Harbour, bounded on the S by the little peninsula of Langmannsholm. On the peninsula, in a former powder store, is the Vigeland Collection, with some 130 pieces of sculpture by Gustaf Vigeland (1869-1943). To the E, between Langmannsholm and the island of Odderey, is the fishing harbour. There are remains of ■old fortifications on Odderoy.
On the SE side of the peninsula lies the East Harbour, with the small 17th c. fort, Christiansholm.
Outside the town, to the NE, is the Vest-Agder Fylkesmuseum (County Museum).
This open-air museum, the largest in the country, has old farmhouses from Vest-Agder and the Setesdal, a town street and several rooms displaying furniture, textiles, glass, stoneware and old liturgical utensils.
To the NW of the town, beyond the parklike Baneheia (several lakes with facilities for bathing), is the Ravnedal Nature Park. There are fine views from the top of the crags which rear above the park.
SURROUNDINGS. 45 km (28 miles) W on E18 is the most southerly town in Norway, Mandal, straddling the Mandalselv (pop. 6500; Solborg Turisthotell, 105 Bondeheimen, 41 youth hostel, 48 b.). The town has a number of handsome old burghers’ houses and a large wooden church (1821). From the rocky hill of Uranienborg, to the N, there are very fine views. 28 km (17 miles) SW of Mandal is Lindesnes (alt. 38 m 125 ft), the most southerly point on the Norwegian mainland (lat. 57°58’42 N), on which the first lighthouse in Norway was built in 1655.
Railway enthusiasts will be tempted, if it is Sunday, to visit Grovane (N of Kristiansand via Vennesla), from which a train drawn by a steam locomotive (1894) runs along a 5 km (3 mile) stretch of the old Setesdal railway (Sundays only).
It is well worth while taking a trip from Kristiansand to the coastal towns of Grimstad and Arendal, to the NE (E18: 72 km (45 miles) to Arendal).
The road crosses the much indented Topdasfjordon a 608 m (660 yds) long suspension bridge (opened 1956) and in 11 km (7 miles) passes a wildlife park (dyrepark). It has an almost complete collection of the species of animals found in Scandinavia and is also a noted camel-breeding establishment.
The road continues via Lilesand (pop. 1500; Norge Hotel, 40 b.) and the manor-house of Norholmen, once the home of Knut Hamsun (museum), to the little town of Grimstad (pop. 2500; Mullerhotell Helmershus, 70 b.), in a fertile agricultural region. In 0stregate, near the dock, is the old pharmacy (now a museum) in which Ibsen worked as a pharmacist (1847-50) and wrote his first work, ”Catilina”.
Arendal (pop. 12,000; Phonix Hotel, 146 Central, 71 Ritz Pensjonat, 27 Bondeheimen, 24 b.), administrative capital of the county of Aust-Agder, is located on the slopes of a hill (important harbour and shipyards). In the S of the town stands the fine Town Hall, after the StiftsgSrd in Trondheim (272), the largest timber building in Norway. Offshore are the islands of Hisoy and Tromoy (bridge). Tromoy has a 13th c. church and a fine view of VardSsen from the hill.