Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen, is a reminder of the town's importance as part of the Hanseatic League's trading empire from the 14th to the mid-16th century.
Several fires, the last in 1955, have ravaged the beautiful wooden houses of Bryggen but its main structure has been preserved. Many of the remaining 58 buildings are now used as artists' studios.
Map of BryggenLoad map
Visit July 2002
There's not much left of the special wooden houses: during the ages a large number of them burnt down, and the remaining ones are now mainly used as souvenir shops - open 7 days a week and catering to the American and Japanese visitor, selling trolls and knitted stuff.
For an experience of what has been, there are two must-sees: the Schøtstuene and the Hanseatic Museum. The Schøtstuene is a small wooden building that served as an assembly room for the Hanseatic merchants. They came here to eat, drink, meet and teach their pupils. The dining/meeting hall with its large fireplace is especially worthwhile to take a look at.
The Hanseatic museum, a few doors away also in a traditional building, shows how a Hanseatic merchant lived in the 18th century. His own rooms were nicely decorated, in contrast to those of the boys that were still in training. They could even be locked up in their beds at night by their supervisor!
Very pretty old wharf but, yes, very touristy. It's a bit better out the back. If you just pretend everyone isn't there, though, you can still get good look at the buildings and how they all fit together. It's quite interesting.
There seem to be a lot of sites related to the Hanseatic League, I have realised. Here's yet another one to add to my list! :)
Read more from Michael Turtle here.
I visited this WHS in May 2010. The colourful leaning wooden houses along the Bryggen harbour were the highlight of my visit. I ate a delicious whale steak with cranberry sauce in one of the very good restaurants there (registered in the whale husbandry programme). Great place to visit!
I found the tourist kitsch of the waterfront over the top, especially the Tongan bar. But I did find some less touristed sites like the King Haakon's Hall, the Maria church, Rosenkranz Tower and the fort as well as the backside of Old Bryggen along Bryggestredet.
As already written, Bryggen is very touristic. I agree that the backside is more intresting, and while in the area, do go uphill and explore the old town there. I found that part of Bergen more intresting to explore.
We visited the Bryggen, in some of the worst weather I have ever experienced on holiday. As such my abiding memories of this site are quasi-kitsch gift shops and sitting warm and cosy in a bakers drinking a cuppucino whilst watching a tallship depart the harbour.
Yet once you look beyond the current uses of the buildings, the structures themselves are a fascinating time capsule and given the fragility and suseptability to fire of such buildings a remarkable survival.
Perhaps not a site one would go to see in issolation, but when coupled with the grandeur of the West Norwegian Fijords well worth a visit.
When visiting the city of Bergen it is hard not to see Bryggen: the small area of old wooden houses. I first walked by and took a quick peek, but later on I found out the backside of the houses are actually more interesting since you can see the wooden structures better that way.
The area around the port of Bergen is called Bryggen and recalls the city´s glory days as part of the Hanseatic League. As stated above, a fire destroyed much of the old city, but what remains is still very interesting and a must-see sight when you´re in Norway. The walk along the very long harbor road is pleasant (at least on the hot summer day when I was there and the breeze from the sea cools you off) and there´s always a chance to go see a museum or visit the interesting aquarium.
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