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Stavanger, Norway

Stavanger, the capital of western Norway is a charming, typical southern Norwegian city, and an exciting mix of old and new. Its proximity to the North Sea oil fields has made it the fast growing and wealthy oil capital of Norway. But its 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.

Stavanger is Norway's fourth largest city with 113,000 inhabitants (metro-area 200,500 inhabitants). A city charter was obtained in 1125 when construction of the beautiful medieval cathedral began, but the area has been populated for over 10,000 years.

Stavanger is also the centre of higher education in Rogaland county. It has its own university, The University of Stavanger, 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.