Kvadraturen is the oldest part of Oslo. In 1624, after the town burned down for the 14th time, King Christian IV renamed the city Christiania and moved it to the more easily defendable area adjacent to Akershus Fortress. In order to prevent future fires, the king decreed that houses were to be built of stone or brick instead of wood. Kvadraturen translates roughly as “square township,” which refers to the area’s geometrically ordered streets.
For more than a century this waterfront district was the home of a massive commercial shipyard called Akers Mekaniske Verksted. Postmodern steel-and-glass structures now dominate the skyline. The promenade along the water's edge is crowded with families whenever the weather is sunny. Facing the water are dozens of high-end eateries, upmarket boutiques, and art galleries. Bridges connect it to the quieter Tjuvholmen neighborhood.