Kristiansand (earlier Christianssand ) is a city and municipality, and the capital of the county of Vest-Agder, Norway. By population, it is the fifth largest city of Norway , and the largest city in the geographical region of Sørlandet. As of January 1, 2006, the municipality had a population of 76,917.  The Kristiansand region has a total population of 137,527. 
Kristiansand was founded by King Christian IV, who in 1641 said the famous words "here the town shall stand". It was created as a market town to encourage growth in this area of strategic significance, providing a local economic base for construction of fortifications and population for defense of the area. The centre of Kristiansand is called Kvadraturen due to its square gridline of streets.
The zoological garden, Kristiansand Dyrepark (Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement Park) just east of the city, has a wide selection of animals in, for the most part, natural habitats. This includes animals such as wolves, tigers and the lynx. Due to the allocation of areas the combination of zoo and recreational park turns out surprisingly well.
Each year in July, Kristiansand is the site of the Quart Festival, a multi-day music festival - the largest of its kind in Norway.
Kristiansand is also home to Agder Theatre.
Kristiansand is connected to continental Europe by air and sea. The local airport, Kjevik, is located 12 km (7 miles) east of the city and has routes to European and Norwegian cities. From the town centre, the ferry harbour has routes to Hirtshals (Denmark), Hanstholm (Denmark), Newcastle upon Tyne (England), and Gothenburg (Sweden). There are also buses and trains that connect Kristiansand to other Norwegian cities.
Kristiansand has major shipbuilding and repair facilities that support Norway's North Sea oil industry. Near Kristiansand there is the static inverter plant of the HVDC Cross-Skagerak.
The river Otra runs through Kristiansand.Kristiansand and Sørlandet usually have a lot of summer sunshine compared to most of Norway. There may be heavy snowfall in winter with south-southeasterly winds (snow record at Kjevik is 170 cm), but the snow rarely stays long at the coast; see climate.
Note: Even though the names actually are different, Kristiansand is often noted as Kristiansand S (S for South) to distinguish it from Kristiansund, also in Norway, in such cases noted as Kristiansund N. The practice originated before postal codes were introduced, as mail sometimes was sent to the wrong city.
Valdemar Knudsen, pioneered sugar cane production in Hawaii.
Norwegian author and winner of Nobel Prize in Literature, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson.
The Norwegian Crown Princess Mette-Marit, born and raised in Kristiansand.
Sven O. Høiby, father of Crown Princess Mette-Marit.
Jens Bjørneboe, painter, dramatist, essayist and novelist born in Kristiansand.
Andreas Thorkildsen, olympic gold medalist, javelin.
Bernt Balchen, Norwegian-American aviator born in Tveit
Lars Nedland, Vocalist, percussionist and keyboardist.
Henrik Wergeland, poet