Bergen, the second largest city in Norway, is often called “gates to the fjords” and “the city amongst seven mountains”. It looks like an impressive amphitheatre surrounded with mountains and water.
Bergen will impress you with its provincial atmosphere and charm.
Local citizens are proud of the city’s shipping, industrial and cultural traditions and are delighted to discuss all this with tourists. Traditions, initiative and energy make Bergen one of the country’s largest cultural centers.
Founded in 1070 by king Olav Kyrre, the city had a strategic location (it was standing on a shipping route) and for a long time was an important commercial and industrial center. Perhaps its the only Scandinavian city which followed classic European traditions. Thanks to trade relations with the north, grain import and fish export, the city grew rapidly. However, Bergen also lived through many misfortunes, including several fires. Nowadays the city occupies a 465 sq.m. territory and has a population of about 230 thousand citizens.
Bergen is a university city, there are several colleges found here. The city is filled with the spirit of originality, however, one can also feel an aroma of internationality that imbues its streets. Its old districts are a true history and its museums and galleries store articles of rich historical heritage. One of the city’s landmarks is Bryggen, famous for its wonderful historical buildings. The district is included in the World Heritage List. Old wooden houses were built after the fire in 1702. You might like Bergen’s Hanseatic Museum, located next to the fish market. The museum provides visitors with information on how Hanseatic merchants lived and worked. Another landmark is St. Mary’s Church – the oldest Roman church in Bryggen (built in 1130).
Bergen fish market is a symbolic place. Farmers and fishermen come here to sell their products. Fish is kept in special containers, that is why dishes served at Bergen’s houses are always fresh. Wonderful Bergen Aquarium, Rasmus Meyer collection – these are just a few examples of numerous attractions one can visit in Bergen.
One thing you should definitely see is the home of famous Norwegian composer, Edvard Grieg on Trollhaugen (the Troll Hill). Trollhaugen is located in a beautiful spot on the fjord shore 10 km from Bergen. A cosy house will immerse you into creative atmosphere and, looking at this slightly austere landscape, you will understand what the composer felt when setting off for his daily promenade.
As for Bergen Aquarium, it contains one of the best European collections of marine fauna. There are 60 aquariums here, inhabited by seals and penguins. Several times a day they rejoice children with their performances.
As you can understand, Bergen is also renowned for its cuisine. Local restaurants can fit any taste and purse. You have a choice of exotic and traditional dishes. Finding a place to enjoy good meals is really easy.
Another thing that the city is famous for is its annual music festival, Nattjazz and Bergenfest. It is no wonder why in 2000 the city was included in the list of the most culturally developed cities in Europe.