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Oslo’s patron St. Hallvard

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How many from us are looking under our feet? One can assume: “ Not too many.”

Next time when you pass manhole look at it. Some of them have an image of Oslo’s patron St. Hallvard. For sure you have seen him somewhere. The story and motive is constantly repeating theme in the decorative elements, especially in Oslo’s City hall. All elements of St. Hallvard’s image represent a heroic  story of the young man. According to legend Hallvard was a rich and generous person who in 1043 tried to save a woman from being raped. They tried to escape on his boat, but were pursued and killed. Hallvard was shot by three arrows. His body was weighted down with a millstone and thrown into sea. Despite of the attempts to hide the crime, his body and the millstone floated up to the surface. Locals found body and the stone. The saw it as a sign to act and worshiped Hallvard as a holly.

The present logo was designed in 1924, when Oslo got its original name back from Christiania and Kristiania. The surrounding inscription translated from Latin “Unanimiter et Constanter” means “United and Resolute”.

Short info from Oslo insider: Do you see silver dots one on each upper corners? It is an electric welding. Many of manholes in central Oslo were welded as a part of a massive security measures due to Barak Obama’s peace price visit in December 2009.

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