The City of Eternal Summer
To most Norwegians, Kristiansand is a place where the sun always shines, where people smile and boats float merrily on a blue, friendly sea. A starting point for foreign tourists who want to experience Norway and for Norwegians who want to see foreign lands, it is also a destination for holiday-makers who wish to go a little further south than where they currently live.
Kristiansand is the southernmost city of Norway and the fifth largest with 70,000 inhabitants (Yes, it is a small country). It was founded in 1641 by King Christian IV, and named after the king and the sandy beach on which it was built. The king wanted a city where his soldiers could march easily, and so the streets in the centre of the city are all broad and straight as opposed to the narrow and crooked ones of older cities. You can see the sea from most of them.
The port town of Kristiansand flourished as naval trade grew. Shipping is still important to the city, both transport of cargo and of people. Passenger ferries go between Kristiansand and Denmark, Germany, Great Britain and certain other European countries.
Kristiansand is the Norwegian city with the most sunny days, and perhaps for this reason, it is home to the only traditional zoo in Norway. A combination between amusement park and zoo, Kristiansand Dyrepark contains chimpanzees, tigers, pandas, trolls, and pirates, to everyone's delight.