The very first buildings in Bergen were situated at Bryggen, which has been a vibrant and important area of the city for many centuries.
Bryggen has been ravaged by many fires, the great fire of 1702 in particular. It reduced the whole of the city to ashes. The area was rebuilt on the foundations that had been there since the 12th century, which means that Bryggen is basically unchanged despite the passing centuries.
Bryggen is now part of our common heritage and has a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and the city of Bergen is a designated World Heritage City. The world heritage site consists of the old Hanseatic wharf and buildings, and one of the best known urban areas from the Middle Ages in all of Norway.
In 1360, the German Hanseatic League set up one of its import and export offices at Bryggen, dominating trade for almost 400 years. To stroll through the narrow alleyways and overhanging galleries is to step back into the mists of time and a bygone era.
Bryggen is very much a living part of the cultural heritage that is still in active use in this historical area of the city. Today, there are several attractions in the area, from the Fish Market to Bergenhus Fortress and there are many cafés, restaurants and shops to choose from. Many of the shops sell traditional and unique crafts.