Bergen's Historic Wharf Front -
Though second in population to the capital of Oslo, the Norwegian city of Bergen is the countries largest in port traffic and commerce for both freight and cruise ship passengers. Over 300 cruise ships travelling up and down the Norwegian coastline during the summer dock in Bergen, disembarking some 500,000 tourists on a yearly basis. Many of the cruise ships also venture inland on the many fjords. Norway has over 53,000 miles of ocean coastline, fjords, bays and inland waterways. Sognefjord, just north of Bergen, is Norway's longest and deepest fjord, stretching some 204 kilometers inland.
There is historic evidence that the City of Bergen began in the year 1020 AD and was established officially as a township in 1070 AD. Some of the two and three story gabled-roof wooden buildings seen along the eastside of Vågen Harbor wharf in the background of this photograph date from this period. Others are a little newer, around 1702, rebuilt due to devastating fires of the original buildings.This wharf area is known as old historic Bryggen (the dock) or Tyskebryggen, meaning the German dock. As trade grew more robust in the centuries after 1020, it became the central location of commerce for the Hanseatic League trading companies beginning as early as the 1300's. I have toured many of these historic wharf buildings. My Norwegian heritage as well as my personal interest in these structures as a preservation Architect and photographer, underscores to me the relevance of saving these historic remnants from the past.
The city began as a destination trade hub for German merchants who would sail into port for trade with Norwegian merchants from the north. Norwegians would trade fish products, primarily dried cod, while Germans would trade dried cereals and grains from Europe.
In modern day, Norwegians take to the roads during the summertime as well as to the waterways in their boats. Ports such as Bergen see an influx of vacationing foreign tourists and Norwegians alike. Night time activities are brisk along the wharf all throughout the summer months.
This photo was taken in August from the west side of Vågen Harbor looking east toward the old wharfside, ten o'clock at night.