Bergen is an attractive town on the west coast of Norway and it has the dubious name to be the wettest place on the European continent. Historically, life revolves around the waterfront, and the most famous place of town is the row of wooden houses on one side of the harbour, the old wharf. It is testimony to Bergen's importance in the 14th to 16th century, when it was part of the Hanseatic League. Many of the houses have sooner or later become prey of fire, and in the Hanseatic tradition were always restored to their former appearance.
The last big fire, in 1702, demolished most houses in Bergen and it was only the actual area of Bryggen that was rebuilt as it had been previously. Now, only a quarter of those buildings are left, and they are well-preserved and protected, also under Unesco patronage since 1979. The houses were originally built as warehouses for the extensive trade with other regions in Europe, but were used for living purposes as well. With industrialisation and modern means of trade, Bryggen lost its function and was reduced to its actual size.
Nowadays, the remaining houses contain shops, restaurants, artists' studios and offices. If you don't want to deplete your financial reserves too quickly it is probably wise to just window-shop here. What's most interesting is to go inside one of the alleys behind the waterfront and to wander through the small streets, where wooden houses tower high above you and impress with their fresh appearance.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Bryggen (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Bryggen.
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