Bergen is called the “gateway to the fjords”. Situated on a promontory nestled between seven mountains at the end of a fjord, Bergen gives a hint of the fjord region.
The city dates from 1070 when King Olav III
founded a settlement here. By the 12th Century, Bergen had grown to become the capital of Norway
Because of the influence of the Gulf stream, Bergen has a relatively mild climate and a harbor that remains mostly ice free during the winter. These factors made Bergen an attractive port and trading center. In the 14th Century, merchants from northern Germany took control and made Bergen into the largest city in Norway and an important port in the Hanseatic League.
After the decline of the League, 18th Century
Norwegian merchants took over the trade. In
particular, Norwegian cod became an important
export. Fishing remains an important industry today.
During the 19th Century, Bergen became a cultural center. Composer Edward Grieg was a native of Bergen. His house outside of the City is a popular attraction.
Bergen was the scene of fighting, including a naval engagement, when Germany invaded Norway at the beginning of World War II. Sections of the city were severely damaged during the five-year occupation.
Today, Bergen remains an important commercial center. In addition, it is an educational center with the University of Bergen and several colleges.
Bergen has several museums depicting its history including the Hanseatic Museum, the Bryggen Museum and the Theta Museum (WW II resistance) as well as historic buildings including the Old Guild Hall and the Rosenkrantz Tower.
The approach to Bergen by sea is quite pretty, taking the
ship past islands and inlets with mountains towering in
Cruise ships dock in a commercial port. Because
of the commercial traffic, shuttle buses are used to take
passengers into town.
Above left: The Rosenkrantz Tower was built in 1560 by the governor of the Bergen fortress to act as a residence and fortress. Parts of it date to the 13th century.
Above: The Gamlehagen, the royal family's residence in Bergen.
Left: The Holberg Monument in the market square pays tribute to the writer Ludvig Holberg, considered the father of Norwegian literature..
The Bryggen, a quay lined with rows of timbered houses, most of which were built between, the 14th and 16th century, is a World
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Cruise destination profile - Norway - Norwegian Fjords - Bergen