Stavanger, the oil capital of Norway, is actually a medieval city. Although it didn't gain city status until 1125 when construction of the beautiful medieval cathedral began, the area has been populated for over 10,000 years. The city is an exciting combination of old and new. Narrow lanes and white timber houses are all in well preserved traditional style, from classic style to funkis. It is a modern city with a wide variety of shops, cafes and restaurants. Contrast characterises this city, the people who live there, the surrounding landscape - and the weather! All this makes Stavanger a pleasant and very charming city. Stavanger is also the centre of higher education in Rogaland county. It has a number of cultural institutions including international, British and French schools because of the great influx of foreigners connected to the oil industry and to the «Emigration Centre for Genealogical Studies and Contact Between Norway and North America». The Canning Museum is the only one of its kind in the world and testifies to what has been an important industry for Stavanger. Among the many other attractions are the theatre and the symphonic orchestra that has its home in the beautifully situated Kulturhuset.