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A Thousand Years of History

Telthusbakken is a quaint street in the middle of downtown Oslo. It’s a popular pedestrian route lined with small, beautiful wooden houses. The houses are approximately 200 years old, and are protected as heritage landmarks.

Consul Westye Egeberg bought “Telthusbakken land” from private owners around 1800. In 1810 he built a farm here and ran it himself. Telthusbakken was during the 1500’s a part of Norway’s main roads going from Oslo and westwards. The name Telthusbakken means tent house and has its name from a military storage building built at the top of the hill in 1755. It was demolished at the beginning of the 1800s.

Around 1795, the street had only a single cottage, number 7, and one house at the bottom of the hill that later was demolished. The small houses were built between 1814 and 1850 of workers and craftsmen. Many of the inhabitants came from the countryside, and brought their building style from their district.

Originally, the inhabitants had to get water from Akerselva, the big river at the bottom of the hill. There was a great deal of poverty and diseases. During the great cholera epidemic in 1833, more than half of the 90 inhabitants got sick. In 1856, 231 people lived on the street. Westye Egeberg, handed out hay for mattresses and buckets of cured herring. Telthusbakken was the division between the poor East and wealthy West, the area just West of Telthusbakken being quite an affluent area.

Today, around 50 people live on one side of the street, and on the other side are the colonial gardens from 1916. It is possible for Oslo’s inhabitants to rent a square of the gardens to grow flowers, vegetables and berries, but there is quite a long waiting list! The path at the top of the gardens is called The Love Path (kjærlighetsstien).

Gamle Aker Kirke was built in 1080, and is the oldest existing building in Oslo.

Telthusbakken is a protected area. This means facades and environment are to stay intact, but the houses can be modernized on the inside. The street is today one of the most idyllic and picturesque streets in Oslo.

Telthusbakkens Venner (Telthusbakken’s Friends) is an organization for Telthusbakken’s house owners. This organization is working to preserve Telthusbakken’s environment for house owners and others who may enjoy walking the hill. You can contact us on telthusbakken@yahoo.no.

Sources:
St. Hanshaugen Ullevål – streiftog i bydelens nedre del 1995
Aftenposten 1980 og 2005
Norske Intelligenssedler 1861
St. Hallvard 1960

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