Top Historic Sights in Bergen, Norway

Explore the historic highlights of Bergen

Bryggen

Bryggen (Norwegian for the Wharf), is a series of Hanseatic commercial buildings lining the eastern side of the fjord coming into Bergen. Bryggen has since 1979 been on the UNESCO list for World Cultural Heritage sites. The name has the same origin as the Flemish city of Brugge. The city of Bergen was founded in 1070. The area of the present Bryggen constitutes the oldest part of the city. Around 1360 a Kontor of the Han ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Bergen, Norway

Korskirken

Korskirken is located at the intersection of the streets Kong Oscars gate and Nedre Korskirkeallmenning and dates back to the latter half of the 12th century. The name of the church refers to the True Cross (and not to its cruciform plan), and is usually rendered in English as 'Holy Cross Church'. This is because it was, as one of only a Norwegian churches, in possession of a relic from the True Cross. This relic was late ...
Founded: c. 1181 | Location: Bergen, Norway

St. Paul Catholic Church

Sankt Paul katolske kirke is a Roman Catholic church built in 1870. It is the main church of c. 12000 Catholics in Bergen.
Founded: 1870 | Location: Bergen, Norway

St. Mary's Church

St Mary"s Church (Mariakirken) construction is believed to have started in the 1130s or 40s and completed around 1180, making the church the oldest remaining building in Bergen. St Mary"s Church is the only remaining of twelve churches and three monasteries built in Bergen between its foundation during the reign of Olav Kyrre (1066–93, traditionally 1070) and the end of the twelfth century. Excavations have revealed ...
Founded: 1130s | Location: Bergen, Norway

Christ Church Ruins

Christ Church was the main church and cathedral of Bergen in the Middle Ages. The church was built by King Olav Kyrre during the period 1066-1093. The church was situated north of Haakon"s hall, the King"s hall. It was dedicated to the Holy Trinity but was always known as Christ Church. In 1170 the relics of Saint Sunniva were moved here from Selja and placed on the main altar. During Bergen"s period as th ...
Founded: 1066-1093 | Location: Bergen, Norway

Bergenhus Fortress

Bergenhus fortress is one of the oldest and best preserved castles in Norway. It contains buildings dating as far back as the 1240s, as well as later constructions built as recently as World War II. The extent of the enclosed area of today dates from the early 19th century. In medieval times, the area of the present-day Bergenhus Fortress was known as Holmen (The islet), and contained the royal residence in Bergen, as wel ...
Founded: 1240s | Location: Bergen, Norway

Nonneseter Abbey Chapel

Nonneseter Abbey is first recorded by name in 1262, but certainly founded many years earlier, possibly in or about 1150. It was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The nuns apparently belonged to the Cistercian Order, although this is not confirmed until as late as 1494. It seems probable that a hospital run by the nuns, documented in 1411, was the forerunner of the later St. George's (Sankt Jørgens) lepers' hospital. In 1507 ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bergen, Norway

Bergen Museum

Bergen Museum or officially The University Museum of Bergen was founded in 1825. It is divided into two departments, the Natural History Collections and the Cultural History Collections and Public Outreach and exhibitions. It is also the caretaker of the museum garden, formerly the botanical garden, surrounding the natural history building, and the city's arboretum. The cultural history museum exhibits the history of regi ...
Founded: 1825 | Location: Bergen, Norway

Bergen Cathedral

Bergen Cathedral was first time mentioned in 1181. It retains its ancient dedication to St. Olaf. During the reign of king Haakon IV of Norway, a Franciscan friary was established near the church, then known as Olavskirken, or the church of Saint Olaf, which was incorporated in it. The church burned down in 1248 and again in 1270, but was reconstructed after both fires. In 1463, it burned down again, but this time it was ...
Founded: 1181 | Location: Bergen, Norway

St. John's Church

St. John"s Church was built between 1891 and 1894 in the Gothic Revival style. With 1250 seats, it is the largest church in Bergen. In 1888, an architectural contest was conducted for the design of a new church. It was built from drawings by architect, Herman Major Backer (1856–1932). The frescoes in the Church"s ceiling date from 1924 and were completed by Hugo Lous Mohr (1889-1970). The building process ...
Founded: 1891-1894 | Location: Bergen, Norway

Nykirken

Nykirken (literally The new church) is a cruciform church originally built in 1621 on the site of the ruins of the home of the archbishop, a stone building that was built in the 14th century, and was destroyed by fire. The church only stood for two years before it burned down in 1623. It was immediately rebuilt. In 1660 the church was again destroyed by fire and again rebuilt in 1670. Later fires happened in 1756 and in 1 ...
Founded: 1621 | Location: Bergen, Norway

Fredriksberg Fortress

The Norwegian fortress Fredriskberg lay strategically placed on Nordnes’ highest point with a precipitous cliff face to the sea on the west side. Dutch Engineer Major General Henrik Ruse (1624-79) initiated the fortress construction, planned with three bastions and a half bastion on the land side and a wall on the side adjacent to the cliff. The fort was built between 1666 and 1667. It was built after and in many re ...
Founded: 1666-1667 | Location: Bergen, Norway

Fantoft Stave Church

Fantoft Stave Church is a reconstructed stave church, originally built in Fortun in Sogn around the year 1150. In the 19th century the church was threatened by demolition, as were hundreds of other stave churches in Norway. The church was bought by consul Fredrik Georg Gade and saved by moving it in pieces to Fantoft near (now in) Bergen in 1883. Outside the church stands a stone cross from Tjora in Sola. On 6 June 1992, ...
Founded: 1150 | Location: Bergen, Norway

Damsgård Manor

Damsgård Manor is a landmark manor and estate in Bergen, Norway. It is noted for its distinct rococo style and is possibly the best preserved wooden building from 18th-century Europe. The area surrounding the manor was most likely populated during the Viking era or earlier, but literary evidence shows it was a population center in 1427, listed as church property. Following the Reformation in 1536, the estate was taken o ...
Founded: 1720 | Location: Bergen, Norway

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Cesis Castle

German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.

In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).

In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.

Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.