A photo of the Opera house in Oslo, Norway
Photo by Kris Taeleman (flickr)

Founded by King Harald Hardraade sometime around the year 1050, Oslo, Norway, was the host of the 1952 Winter Olympic Games. The Oslo Winter Games were the first winter games to feature the Olympic torch that we have become so accustomed to seeing.

The origins of the name Oslo seem to be the source of quite a bit of disagreement. There are several theories. Some people think that it means “Mouth of the lo river” but at least according to Wikipedia, parts of the theory that suggest this naming were probably made up by the guy who originally published it. It is also possible that, since Oslo was once spelled Áslo, and there is a ridge called ås near the city, that the name means “Meadow beneath the ridge” or, since “Ás” may also be a reference to the Æsir, (the group of gods that includes Thor), Oslo may also mean “Meadow of the Gods.” Finally, the “os” part of Oslo may be mean “estuary” or “river mouth” and refer to Oslo’s location at the end of the Oslo fjord, (although, interestingly, no rivers actually enter the fjord at Oslo).

So, basically, there are a bunch of different stories that lead to Oslo being called Oslo, and many of them are believable, but we don’t have a definite answer about which one, if any, is the real story.