8 Fabolous Natural and Cultural Heritage Sites To See In Norway
Have you ever been on an amazing trip where every nook and cranny are wonders to behold? Well, if you have not, come and see the most breathtaking site-discovery you never have imaging to see in Norway. The truth is that Norway is a beautiful country with an appealing remark and there are a lot of stunning places to visit in the home of Viking. From the coastline interior to the verdant landscape stretch to the mountainous hill is nothing but a panorama. No one can disregard the extraordinary beauty of Norway from its natural to cultural heritage. Take a straight look at the West Norwegian Fjords which is the world longest and deepest fjord, a site to behold, let take another trip to the northmost part of Norway and deep into the line of history of Rock Art of Alta which display the finest rocky carving in Europe. Every touch of Norway is something beautiful to experience, and that is why we have made the list of some of the most wonderful places you would like to see.
Bryggen is a historic harbour district in Bergen, one of North Europe’s oldest port cities on the west coast of Norway which was established as a centre for trade by the 12th century. In 1350 the Hanseatic League established a “Hanseatic Office” in Bergen. They gradually acquired ownership of Bryggen and controlled the trade in stockfish from Northern Norway through privileges granted by the Crown. The Hanseatic League established a total of four overseas Hanseatic Offices, Bryggen being the only one preserved today.
Bryggen has been damaged by a number of fires through the centuries and has been rebuilt after every fire, closely following the previous property structure and plan as well as building techniques. Bryggen’s appearance today stems from the time after the fire in 1702. The buildings are made of wood in keeping with vernacular building traditions. The original compact medieval urban structure is preserved with its long narrow rows of buildings facing the harbour, separated by narrow wooden passages. Today, some 62 buildings remain of this former townscape and these contain sufficient elements to demonstrate how this colony of bachelor German merchants lived and worked, and illustrate the use of space in the district. It is characterized by the construction of buildings along the narrow passages running parallel to the docks. The urban units are rows of two- to three-storey buildings signified by the medieval name “gård”. They have gabled facades towards the harbour and lie on either one or both sides of the narrow passages that have the functions of a private courtyard. The houses are built in a combination of traditional timber log construction, and galleries with column and beam construction with horizontal wooden panel cladding. The roofs have original brick tiling or sheets, a result of fast repairs after an explosion during World War II. Towards the back of the gård, there are small fireproof warehouses or storerooms (kjellere) built of stone, for protection of special goods and valuables against fire. This repetitive structure was adapted to the living conditions of the Hanseatic trading post. The German merchants took up winter residence in the small individual wooden houses and the storerooms were used as individual or collective warehouses. A true colony, Bryggen enjoyed quasi-extraterritoriality which continued beyond the departure of the Hanseatic merchants until the creation of a Norwegian trading post in 1754, on the impetus of fishermen and ship owners of German origin. Today, Bryggen is a significant part of the historic wooden city of Bergen.
Rjukan-Notodden Industrial Heritage Site
Located in a dramatic landscape of mountains, waterfalls and river valleys, the Rjukan-Notodden Industrial Heritage Site comprises a cluster of pioneering hydro-electric power plants, transmission lines, factories, transport systems and towns. The complex was established by the Norsk-Hydro company which brought together results of science and research from Europe and North America to produce hydroelectricity and manufacture artificial fertilizer from nitrogen in the air in response to the Western world’s demand for increased agricultural production in the early 20th century. Rjukan and Notodden company towns incorporated social innovations in workforce provision influenced by international planning ideas which together with innovative transport solutions enabled supply of a new, globally significant product for the world-wide market.
Rock Art of Alta
The property is situated in the northernmost part of Norway, far north of the Arctic Circle at the head of the Alta Fjord. It contains thousands of rock carvings and paintings located at 45 sites in five different areas at the head of the Alta Fjord (Kåfjord, Hjemmeluft, Storsteinen, Amtmannsnes and Transfarelvdalen). More rock art made by hunter-gatherers is found in Alta than anywhere else in northern Europe. This seems to indicate that for thousands of years, from approximately 5000 B.C. to about the year 0, Alta was an important meeting place far north of the Arctic Circle. The development of carvings in Alta through thousands of years can be related to the post-glacial land upheaval. The oldest carvings are found at the highest points of the landscape. In Alta the changing landscape of prehistoric times is evident, and the position of the carvings also provides a key to understanding the chronology of rock art in the circumpolar region.
The Rock Art shows communication between the world of the living and the worlds of the spirits, and gives insight into the cosmology of prehistoric hunters and gatherers. There is an exceptionally high number of human figures and compelling portrayals of prehistoric social life, dancing, processions, and rituals. Moreover, the Rock Art provides a unique testimony to the interaction of hunter-gatherers with the landscape. The panels show hunting, fishing and boat journeys, and are thought to represent micro-landscapes. A wide range of circumpolar fauna is depicted (reindeer, elks, bears, fish, whales, seabirds, etc.). Studies of material culture are enriched by the many different artefacts shown on the Alta panels. Good preservation conditions permit the study of rock art production.
Investigation of the large settlement sites adjacent to the carvings gives a better understanding of the social context of the Rock Art. The Rock Art and the settlement sites demonstrate communication in prehistory with areas thousands of kilometres away.
Røros Mining Town and the Circumference
Røros Mining Town and the Circumference consist of three sites within the Circumference, i.e. the area of privileges awarded by the Danish-Norwegian King to Røros Copper Works in 1646.
The town and the cultural landscapes cover a large continuous area which includes the landscape surrounding the mining town, the urban agricultural areas, and the most important mining landscapes where agricultural practices and copper work operations were carried out.
Femundshytta is a largely relict landscape which includes the industrial cultural landscape with the remains of a smelter, water management systems, and the community that grew up around them. The Winter Transport Route is made up of a sequence of lakes, rivers, and creeks in an almost untouched landscape. It was used from November to May.
Røros Mining Town, established in 1646, is unique. It is built entirely of wood, and interlinked with a cultural landscape that shows in an outstanding and almost complete manner how mining operations, transportation, and the way of life had to be adapted to the requirements of the natural environment – the mountain plains, the cold climate, the remote location without roads and with marginal growth conditions for forests and agriculture. On this basis a unique culture developed that has partly disappeared, but an outstanding testimony of the existence of which has been preserved.
Struve Geodetic Arc
The determination of the size and shape of the world was one of the most important problems of natural philosophy since at least the 4th century B.C. The development, in the 16th century, of a measurement system called “triangulation” improved the ability to determine the size and shape of the world. In this system, long chains of triangles were measured, creating arcs that stretched along hundreds and thousands of kilometres.
The Struve Geodetic Arc is a chain of survey triangulations stretching from Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea, through ten countries and over 2,820 km. These are points of a survey, carried out between 1816 and 1855 by several scientists (surveyors) under leadership of the astronomer Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve, which represented the first accurate measuring of a long segment of a meridian. This helped to establish the exact size and shape of our planet and marked an important step in the development of earth sciences and topographic mapping. It is an extraordinary example of the development of sciences and of collaboration among scientists from different countries, as well as monarchs, for a common scientific cause.
Prior to the Struve Geodetic Arc, an arc of about 2,400 km had been measured in India by Lambton and Everest (completed in 1845), and a shorter arc in Lithuania by Carl Tenner. Struve, who was working at the Dorpat University (currently University of Tartu in Estonia), decided that he would establish an arc following a line of longitude (meridian) passing through the observatory of the university. The new long arc, later to be known as the Struve Geodetic Arc, was eventually created by connecting earlier, shorter arcs to the southern one measured by Tenner, and their extension to the north and south. The arc thus covered a line connecting Fuglenæs, near Hammerfest at the Arctic Ocean, with Staro-Nekrassowka, near Ismail, on the Black Sea shores, along more than 2,800 km. The original arc consisted of 258 main triangles with 265 main station points. The inscribed property includes 34 of the original station points established by Struve and his colleagues between 1816 and 1851 – four points in Norway, four in Sweden, six in Finland, two in Russia, three in Estonia, two in Latvia, three in Lithuania, five in Belarus, one in Moldova and four in Ukraine. Other preserved sites of the Arc are protected nationally.
These marks take different forms: small holes drilled in rock surfaces, and sometimes filled with lead; cross-shaped engraved marks on rock surfaces; solid stone or brick with a marker inset; rock structures (cairns) with a central stone or brick marked by a drilled hole; individual bricks; as well as especially constructed ‘monuments’ to commemorate the point and the arc.
The Struve Geodetic Arc is an extraordinary example of the interchange of human values in the form of international scientific collaboration, as well as an outstanding example of a technological ensemble.
Urnes Stave Church
Urnes Stave Church is situated on a promontory in the remarkable Sognefjord on the west coast of Norway. The stave churches constitute one of the most elaborate and technologically advanced types of wooden construction that existed in North-Western Europe during the Middle Ages. The churches were built on the classic basilica plan, but entirely of wood. The roof frames were lined with boards and the roof itself covered with shingles in accordance with construction techniques which were widespread in Scandinavian countries. Among the roughly 1,300 medieval stave churches indexed, 28 are preserved in Norway today. Some of them are very large, such as Borgund, Hopperstad or Heddal churches, whereas others, such as Torpo or Underdal, are tiny.
Urnes is one of the oldest and is an outstanding representative of the stave churches. The church expresses in wood the language and spatial structures of Romanesque stone architecture, characterized by the use of cylindrical columns with cubic capitals and semi-circular arches. The wood carving and sculpted decor of exquisite quality on the outside includes strap-work panels and elements of Viking tradition from the previous building (11th century) which constitute the origin of the “Urnes style”, also found in other parts of Scandinavia and North-Western Europe. These carvings are found on the northern wall with a carved decoration of interlaced, fighting animals. Similar carvings cover the western gable triangle of the nave and the eastern gable of the choir. In the interior of the church, there is an extraordinary series of 12th century carved figurative capitals. The carvings are important both as outstanding artistic artefacts, and as a link between the pre-Christian Nordic culture and the Christianity of the medieval ages. The church also contains a wealth of liturgical objects of the medieval period.
Vegaøyan – The Vega Archipelago
The Vega Archipelago is a shallow-water area just south of the Arctic Circle, on the west coast of Norway – an open seascape and coastal landscape made up of a myriad of islands, islets and skerries. A cluster of low islands centred on the more mountainous islands of Vega and Søla bear testimony of how people developed a distinctive, frugal way of life centred around fishing, farming and the harvesting of eider down (the down of the eider duck) in an extremely exposed seascape. The property covers a cultural landscape of 107,294 ha, of which 6,881 ha is land.
Fishermen and hunters have lived on the islands of Vega and Søla, where peaks tower to nearly 800 m, for more than 10,000 years. As numerous new islands gradually rose from the sea, the characteristic landscape became shaped by the interaction between fishermen-farmers and the bountiful nature in this exposed area. The Vega Archipelago now stands as a testimony to people who have developed unique, simple ways to live in and interact with nature.
They lived as fishermen-farmers, making the tending of eider ducks the centre of their way of life. The local peoples also built shelters and nests for the wild eiders that came to the islands each spring. The birds were protected from any unnecessary disturbance throughout the breeding season. In return, the people could gather the valuable eider down when the birds left their nests with their chicks. As early as the 9th century, tending eiders was reported to be a way for people in Norway to make a living, and the Vega Archipelago was the core area for this tradition. Women played a key role in this lifestyle, and the World Heritage property of the Vega Archipelago also celebrates their contribution to the tending of eider ducks. The tradition remains alive today, albeit to a smaller extent.
The islands and islets are either in groups or isolated, spread across the 50 km broad strandflat that stretches from the mainland to the edge of the continental shelf. The outermost islands are barren and have just a thin, patchy soil cover, whereas those closer to the mainland feature more nutrient-rich bedrock, are greener and show a farming-related biodiversity, linked to centuries of grazing and haymaking.
The rich maritime resources of the Vega Archipelago not only benefited local peoples, but also as many as 228 species of birds that can be observed in the archipelago, considered as the most important wintering area for seabirds in the Nordic region.
West Norwegian Fjords – Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord
The starkly dramatic landscapes of Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord are exceptional in scale and grandeur in a country of spectacular fjords. Situated in south-western Norway, these fjords are among the world’s longest and deepest, and vary in breadth from just 250 m to 2.5 km wide. Fjord, a word of Norwegian origin, refers to a long, deep inlet of the sea between high cliffs formed by submergence of a glaciated valley. These two West Norwegian fjords are considered to be classic and complementary examples of this phenomenon, a sort of type locality for fjords that still display active geological processes.
Numerous waterfalls and free-flowing rivers, deciduous and coniferous woodlands and forests, glacial lakes, glaciers, rugged mountains and a range of other natural attributes combine towards making Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord among the most scenically outstanding landscapes in the world. A serial property covering an area of 122,712 ha, of which 10,746 ha is sea, these two fjords are separated from each other by a distance of 120 km. They form part of the West Norwegian fjord landscape, which stretches 500 km from Stavanger in the south to Åndalsnes in the north-east. Several inhabited villages and valleys are found along the fjords and inside the boundaries, and the landscape is supplemented (although not dominated) by remnants of its human historical past, which adds further interest and value to the property.