Experience Historical Bryggen
In the heart of Bergen you will find the characteristic wharf structure called Bryggen. This well-known building mass is not only the pride of the city, but also the third most popular attraction in Norway. Whether it is summer or winter, this historical area is a lively place to visit and a must-see for anyone visiting Bergen. Shops and restaurants are found nestled together. However, with roots all the way back to the year 1000 this is a historical gem just waiting to be explored.
Back when Bergen was one of the largest trading cities in Northern Europe, it was an economical centre. The majority of the buildings still standing were erected after a big fire in 1702. Today, a total of 61 protected houses remain, which is just a fourth of the original agglomeration of buildings. The old meets new and modern in this UNESCO world heritage site but a whisper of its historical past still lies in the air.
A Time Travel
Bryggen in Bergen is also known as the Hansa or German Wharf, names which reflect on its former purpose. Between 1360 and 1754, this was an important base for German traders, or “Hanseats” which they were known as. These traders dominated the market in Northern Europe for centuries and established themselves in Norway after Black Death had ravaged the country.
One of the best kept structures in the wharf area is Finnegaarden. Here you will get a unique insight into the period of when the Hanseatic League dominated the city. It is said to have been the German Office’s largest and grandest merchant stows. Today, it works as a museum and showcases how life used to be for leagues members. As a visitor here you will walk the same floors as they once did with the original interior and furnishings surrounding you. A complex called ‘Schøtstuene’ is also worth visiting. These are a collection of reconstructed buildings which once worked as a dining and meeting place for the German traders.
Survival Against All Odds
A lot has threatened the survival of Bryggen over its lifetime. Besides large fires, the wooden structure was almost destroyed during World War II after a large explosion. A large ship transporting ammunition went up in flames and caused damaged to the roof of the buildings. The blast from the explosion lifted the whole structure from its fundament, making it extremely unstable. The Reich Commissioner in Norway at the time, Josef Terboven, claimed the wharf area was a perfect hiding place for the resistance and tried to seize the opportunity to demolish the whole of Bryggen. With support from some of the professionals in the local government, prospects were not looking well. Thankfully an on-site inspection determined that it could be saved through simple means and the wharf structure was saved.
Against all odds Bryggen still stands and is an area where you can relive the city’s past, whilst enjoying a nice walk or a meal at one of many eateries. The venerable buildings also house a maze of small alleyways sprinkled with some of Bergens unique shops and galleries. Local artists thrive and there are unique pieces of art which make good souvenirs. With a location other hotels only can dream of Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Bergen is an ideal starting point for anyone wanting to explore the historical trading area.