Bergen's UNESCO World Heritage Site underlines the city's long cosmopolitan history
The old hanseatic city of Bergen proudly wears the nickname ”Gateway to the fjords” for its supreme location close to the fjords of Western Norway. However, Bergen is much more than a gateway. The city boasts a proud history, a rich cultural life and an intimate urban city centre, beautifully surrounded by seven mountains and several islands.
As a visitor in Bergen there is no way you will miss out on Bryggen. The stretch of wooden houses was built in the Middle Ages, and has later been re-built several times after fires. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site reminiscent of Bergen's historical connection to the Hanseatic League, an organization founded by north German towns and German merchant communities abroad to protect their mutual trading interests.
As the trading centre of Norway, Bergen exported goods from the western and northern coastal communities, and remained the biggest and most international city in Norway until the 19th Century.
Watching over every day life
Beautifully placed along Vågen (the city bay), right in the city centre, Bryggen looks over the ships coming in, people gathering at the fish market (Fisketorget) and every day life of the locals on their way to work, shopping or going up to Mount Fløyen on the Fløibanen funicular.
After the last big fire in 1955 Bryggen was the subject of archaeological investigations, bringing proof of early urban trading communities. The remaining part has status as a protected area, is made fire proof and has even got its own museum.