FROM SHED TO CATHEDRAL
Café Cathedral opened its doors for the first time in 2001. But the history of this location precedes us by 160 years.
The old Bazaar Halls that surround the cathedral were constructed between the years 1840 to 1859 by architect Christian H. Grosch. In connection to this row of stalls, the Fire Brigade was also built in the very same Neo-Romanesque style, with its characteristic exposed brick and high rise tower. But the buildings would not be left alone for long.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the municipal council proposed the demolition of the Bazaar Halls and the Fire Brigade in favor of a new stock exchange building. This triggered one of Oslo’s first major debates on the preservation of buildings. After impassioned protests against the council’s proposal, the plans were fortunately rejected.
By 1927, the buildings were proclaimed protected, however, this did not terminate the council’s intentions. And in 1931, their demolition proposal was granted. Neither the National Heritage Board nor the conservation decision four years earlier managed to prevent it. Eventually, it took a protracted German occupation to distract the city council and cease the demolition process.
Following the war, the decision on demolition was revoked. Perhaps it was the feeling of liberation that made the city come to its senses and leave the Bazaar Halls and the Fire Brigade in peace. We do not know, but peace there was. In 1960, the city began work on restoring the buildings back to its former glory days – in line with architect Grosch’s vision more than a hundred years earlier.
Today, we are proud to build on this legacy. We recognize our responsibility of looking after a significant piece of Oslo’s history here at Kirkeristen. We wish to further the narrative through tasty meals, a unique atmosphere and memorable moments. Because that is what our guests deserve. And that is what the city deserves.