The city of Bergen, located on the Byfjord, was founded in 1070 and is one of the most important trading cities in Norway after Oslo. German Hanseatic merchants operated trading offices in the city until the 16th century. A large part of these wooden merchant houses have been preserved to this day and give an impression of trading life in the Middle Ages. Check sunglasseswill to see Top 10 Sights in Norway.
|Official title:||Bryggen (port city of Bergen)|
|Cultural monument:||one third of the former office buildings at Vågen harbor with open and covered passages, organized as courtyards; i.a. Finnegården, Bellgården, Svensgården and Bredsgården|
|Country:||Norway, Western Norway|
|Location:||Bryggen (Bergen), northwest of Oslo|
|Meaning:||Office buildings and warehouses at the old port as an important testimony to the history of the Nordic Hanseatic League|
|around 1070||City founded by King Olav Kyrre|
|1170/71||first known large fire|
|around 1360||Establishment of a German office|
|1702||Fire in Bryggen|
|1754||Dissolution of the German office and establishment of the Norwegian office|
|1832-1915||Photographic views of Bryggen by Kund Knudsen|
|1872||Foundation of the Hanseatic Museum|
|1899||Dissolution of the Norwegian office|
|1927||Part of Bryggen is listed as a historical monument|
|1944||Parts of Bryggen are destroyed as a result of the explosion of a munitions ship in the harbor|
|1955||Fire in Bryggen|
|1955-69||During excavations, the remains of wooden houses from the 12th century were found|
|1958||Destruction of 14 historical buildings by fire|
|1962||Transfer of part of Bryggen to Stiftelsen Bryggen|
|1963||Monument protection for 58 remaining wooden offices|
|2000||Bergen, European Capital of Culture|
In the corridors of a man’s society
The masts of the cogs close together, men on the quay, stooped under the weight of heavy barrels, farm horses in front of heavily loaded carts – a scene that is a thing of the past. Past like the coastal sailors from Lofoten with a load of stockfish; Also, oil, sheepskins and goatskins or wood are no longer unloaded at the quays. The faces of northern Norwegian fishermen, tanned by wind and weather, are hard to find in the streets. Instead of them, visitors from near and far stroll past the wooden gabled houses, which are bathed in white, ocher and “ox blood”. Curiously, they turn into the plank-made passages between the office buildings, the protruding gables of which arch protectively over the corridors. Today the pungent smell of oil and dried fish can no longer be heard here. In some of the offices built on footbridges, antiquity has long been advertised, in others gourmands dine. Even if shrimp and smoked salmon are for sale at the nearby fish market, knick-knacks, wrap-around skirts, leather belts and T-shirts predominate. 3000 tons of stockfish were once exported annually via Bergen – that time of trading in the most important export goods of the far north and also the everyday life of the men’s society of trading houses are preserved to this day in the Hanseatic and Bryggen Museum.
Protected under a museum roof, planks and planks rest in the ground – not far from the stone Mariakirken, which are enthroned on a slope, they are the silent witnesses of early medieval settlement when the water washed around the houses built here during spring tide. But it was not the waters of the sea that changed Bryggen, but flames. From time immemorial, every town fire was followed by the hasty reconstruction of the wooden courtyards, mostly double courtyards made up of two parallel rows of houses. The two-story houses, which were no more than four to six meters wide, were inhabited by the owners and their servants, and sometimes they were also rented out to guests.
In the front part of the house, the stockfish was “weighed in”, oak barrels were used to fill the Trans. A strict working order had to be adhered to: “Yder boy scall sine Redschopp wedder uphang as de thovorne hangen dohn” is an unmistakable Low German inscription in Finnegården: “Every boy should hang his tool up where it was before”. The covered passage and gallery led to the storage rooms in the rear part of the elongated office building. On the first floor, the apprentices and a journeyman ate, who made sure that the thin, only slightly fermented beer was not drunk in excess. The large incendiary ax and the incendiary buckets were always at hand, because the “red rooster” was a constant threat. The most representative room was the merchant’s room with the office, in which the general ledger was kept. Even at night the journeyman could keep a watchful eye on his apprentice boys: through a hatch from his wardrobe bed to the spartan apprentice room where the apprentices rested in four narrow and low beds that could be locked from the outside. If the apprentices went overboard, they received a beating with the “knout,” a rope end that was studded with small nails.
Each house had its own bathroom in the courtyard, sometimes a “two-seater” too. An infernal stench spread between the rows of houses as the faeces seeped into open trenches. Since a municipal garbage disposal was still unknown, the rubbish piled up in the corridors. In the back of the courtyards was the so-called »Schøtstuen«, a heated meeting house, in which people ate and drank together before work and at the end of the day during the cold season. Once a year you also sat in court. If the rules of the “Guild” were violated, the apprentices were punished with the belt, journeymen and administrators with fines, which were used to buy free beer. When there was less work in the shop in winter, the apprentices at Schøtstuen received lessons in writing, arithmetic and merchandise.