Trondheim is situated where the River Nidelva meets Trondheim Fjord with an excellent harbour and sheltered condition. The river used to be deep enough for most boats in the Middle Ages. An avalanche of mud and stones made it less navigable and partly ruined the harbour in the mid-17th century. The municipality's top elevation is the Storheia hill, 565 metres (1,854 ft) above sea level. At the summer solstice, the sun rises at 03:00 and sets at 23:40, but stays just below the horizon–there is no darkness (no need for artificial lighting outdoors) from 23 May to 19 July under cloud-free conditions. At the winter solstice, the sun rises at 10:01, stays very low above the horizon (at midday its altitude is slightly more than 3 degrees over the horizon), and sets at 14:31.
Trondheim was named Kaupangen (English: market place or trading place) by Viking King Olav Tryggvason in 997 CE. Shortly thereafter it came to be called Nidaros. In the beginning it was frequently used as a military retainer (Old Norse: "hird"-man) of King Olav I. It was frequently used as the seat of the king, and was the capital of Norway until 1217.
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