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CruiseDirection - Magazine May 2019

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King Olaf III built the city in 1070 and it was the capital of Norway in the 12th and 13th centuries. It was a leader in trading and was part of the Hanseatic League during the 14th century. With the exception of historical landmarks scattered throughout Bergen, the city is very much a modern cosmopolitan one today.  

Many of the buildings in Bergen suffered damage during the German occupation and allied bombing raids in World War II. The older, historical buildings were destroyed, but those that remain are open to the public. They include the Fantoft Stave Church, which is a replica of the 1150 original, King Haakon’s Hall from 1261, and St. Mary’s Church from the 12th century. King Haakon’s Hall has undergone two restorations to conserve the Gothic building and it is still used today for coronations, weddings, and state occasions.

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Why visit Bergen ?

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The second largest city in Norway

A wide variety of natural treasures to explore amongst the waterways and historical sites

Once you have visited the historical buildings, you will want to visit the museums and historic districts of the city. The city’s waterfront, Bryggen, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980 to preserve the wooden buildings that are close to 900 years old. Troldhaugen, the Victorian home of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg is open to the public and hosts many musical events in its garden during the summer. The Bergen Aquarium is another entertaining place that is attractive to children, and it has one of the best and most extensive collections of European marine life, including penguins and seals. There are other museums in Bergen that focus on history, geology, and fishing in the country.  

If you enjoy shopping and are looking for something unique to bring home from your vacation to Norway, Bergen has plenty to offer. Start the day well with ripe berries and fresh boiled shrimp from the harbour side outdoor fish market, which opens in the early morning and runs until mid-afternoon daily. There are shops in the same area that sell numerous different items including handcrafts and they are named things like ‘Troll at Bryggen’, ‘Julehuset’ which is a Christmas store, the ‘Viking Shop’. There is also ‘Oleana Knitting’, a craft store. As well as these small and unique shops there are some modern stores and department stores in the city.  

Finally, take a walk around Bergen and the surrounding countryside to get a taste of the natural beauty and fresh air of Norway. There are plenty of trails that lead up the mountains. These vary in difficulty, so there should be a suitable trail for all abilities. There are outlooks stationed along the way for rests and photo opportunities. Ride the funicular to the summit of Mt Floyen and then the cable car to Mt Ulriken. The cable car will reopen in spring 2009 due to a much needed upgrade, but if you are adventurous enough, you could take the moderately difficult four to six hour walk between the two.

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