Sverresborg was built by king Sverre Sigurdsson (ca. 1150-1202) in the mid 1180s, 250 meters northeast of Bergenhus fortress. King Sverre Sigurdsson also had a Sverresborg built in Trondheim. It is thought that the fortress had an outer wall of stone and inner buildings of wood. A saga mentions that 600 men and 40 noble women lived in the fortress ca. 1207.Sverresborg was the site of several battles during the Civil war era in Norway. The castle fell to the baglers and was destroyed, but was rebuilt by Håkon Jarl. The baglers destroyed it a second time and it has been rebuilt several times.The site was reinforced by King Håkon Håkonsson after the great fire of 1248. The medieval fort remained until mid-16th century. Directly underneath Sverresborg lies the residence of the master of the ramparts, the oldest of which go back to the 18th century. The master of the ramparts was in charge of the maintenance and upkeep of the fortifications and buildings. Much of the present day fortifications are from the 17th century. In August 1665, the fortress participated in the Battle of Vågen. The last known expansions took place during the Napoleonic wars.
In the 1830s a park was laid out in the area and in 1911 a petty officers school was established for Bergen Brigade. During World War II the German occupants established two anti aircraft batteries in the fortress. After the war, Sverresborg used as the execution site in connection with treason settlement. Seven German and one Norwegian war criminals were executed in Sverresborg in 1946.
The fortress has not fulfilled an operative capacity since World War II, but is still used by the military of Norway for office facilities. The facilities include a garage and an outbuilding of more recent date. The area is today under the command of the commandant of Bergenhus and is a military area, but open to the public.References:
Kirkjubøargarður ('Yard of Kirkjubøur', also known as King"s Farm) is one of the oldest still inhabited wooden houses of the world. The farm itself has always been the largest in the Faroe Islands. The old farmhouse dates back to the 11th century. It was the episcopal residence and seminary of the Diocese of the Faroe Islands, from about 1100. Sverre I of Norway (1151–1202), grew up here and went to the priest school. The legend says, that the wood for the block houses came as driftwood from Norway and was accurately bundled and numbered, just for being set up. Note, that there is no forest in the Faroes and wood is a very valuable material. Many such wood legends are thus to be found in Faroese history.
The oldest part is a so-called roykstova (reek parlour, or smoke room). Perhaps it was moved one day, because it does not fit to its foundation. Another ancient room is the loftstovan (loft room). It is supposed that Bishop Erlendur wrote the 'Sheep Letter' here in 1298. This is the earliest document of the Faroes we know today. It is the statute concerning sheep breeding on the Faroes. Today the room is the farm"s library. The stórastovan (large room) is from a much later date, being built in 1772.
Though the farmhouse is a museum, the 17th generation of the Patursson Family, which has occupied it since 1550, is still living here. Shortly after the Reformation in the Faroe Islands in 1538, all the real estate of the Catholic Church was seized by the King of Denmark. This was about half of the land in the Faroes, and since then called King"s Land (kongsjørð). The largest piece of King"s Land was the farm in Kirkjubøur due to the above-mentioned Episcopal residence. This land is today owned by the Faroese government, and the Paturssons are tenants from generation to generation. It is always the oldest son, who becomes King"s Farmer, and in contrast to the privately owned land, the King"s Land is never divided between the sons.
The farm holds sheep, cattle and some horses. It is possible to get a coffee here and buy fresh mutton and beef directly from the farmer. In the winter season there is also hare hunting for the locals. Groups can rent the roykstovan for festivities and will be served original Faroese cuisine.
Other famous buildings directly by the farmhouse are the Magnus Cathedral and the Saint Olav"s Church, which also date back to the mediaeval period. All three together represent the Faroe Island"s most interesting historical site.