Interested in Norway?
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What is unique about Norway? Most of the attractions in Norway are of course not perfectly unique to Norway, for instance fjords are also Greenland and New Zealand, and midnight sun in all northern countries. However, nowhere are the fjords so accessible as in Norway in such a large number, they are in fact all over. Fjords are inhabited and hillsides are cultivated yet unspoiled because of the low population density in these areas. The typical Norwegian fjord is surprisingly deep and surrounded by steep mountain slopes, because of the fertile climate these slopes are usually deep green. Many glaciers of Norway are also relatively accessible.
Svalbard, an arctic archipelago far north, has the mighty polar bear.
Unqiue cultural features:
* The ancient Sami culture of the north (partly Sweden, Finland and Russia)
* Wooden arcitecture, notably in the country side, including the ancient Stave churches (from originally more than 1000, only some 30 remain)
* Hardanger fiddle (hardingfele) is a Norwegian variant of the standard violin. Although very similar to the standard violin, the Hardanger fiddle has an extra set of strings that acts as sympathetic (resonance) strings giving this traditional instrument its unique sound. The oldest existing Hardanger fiddle is from 1651 (on display at the Historical Museum in Bergen).
* Real viking ships from the 9th century are on display in Oslo. Perhaps the greatest historical sight in Norway.
* Lutefisk ("lye fish") - dried whitefish (typically cod) prepared in soda lye, unique to Norway and Sweden, normally served in late Autumn and during Christmas
* Brown cheese (brunost) - sweet semi-soft cheese, brown like chocolate, based on cow or goat milk, brown goat cheese has more character, found in every grocery store
* Gravlaks (cured salmon) - raw salmon cured in sugar, salt, dill and alcohol (usually cognac), mild and tasty
* Whale - yes, some Norwegians do eat whale, as it is not very available it is however not that common. Note: as whaling is contested issue be careful to engage in heated debates. As the mink whale is not regarded as endangered, the Norwegian government allows a limited catch of this specific whale species.
* "Pinnekjøtt"/"saueribber" (ribs of sheep) - smoked, steamed and grilled (sometimes only steamed) whole ribs of lamb or sheep, served with potetaos and Norwegian sauerkraut, mostly for Christmas in West Norway.