BERGEN — Bryggen

Bryggen is the old wharf area of Bergen.

Traveller's Tip

You can take a guided tour in the Summer through this historic area from the Bryggens Museum to the Hanseatic Museum. This walking tour gives you a picture of what it would have been like to live in the town during the Middle Ages when this area was at its peak. You can buy tickets for the tour at the Bryggens Museum. They cost NOK 60 for adults and children are free. The tours are at 10am in German, 11am and 12pm in English and 1pm in Norwegian.

It is reminder of how this area was the headquarters of the Hansas who were a German guild of merchants. Their trading empire dominated from the 14th to the mid 16th centuries. Characteristic of this area are the wooden buildings that have been ravaged by fire over the years but have been rebuilt in the traditional way. There are now 62 of these buildings remaining here today. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This is a very popular tourist area and you will find plenty of cafes, restaurants, artist’s studios, craftsmen’s workshops and small boutiques.

The sights found here are:
Hanseatic Museum
Theta Museum on Bryggen
Bryggens Museum

Bryggen

Hanseatic Museum
This museum is at the end of the walking tour you can take around Bryggen and it is one of the oldest and best preserved wooden buildings in Bergen. The museum is the only building in the area to have its interiors preserved. The Haseatic League had one of their offices in Bergen from around 1360 to 1754 and only German merchants were allowed to live in Bryggen at this time. The Hanseatics were unmarried and had to live in celibacy whilst they lived here. At this time in this area there were tenements consisting of several smaller trade houses each run by a merchant with a journeyman and apprentices. All of them lived in the house together and you can see what it would have been like in the museum. Behind the tenements were assembly halls which were connected to a kitchen and a food storage room. In the museum there are three of these halls and a kitchen. In the former storage rooms are exhibitions about the history and architecture of Bryggen. Also on show are the quarters of management and the apprentices. Of particular interest is the fish storage room where at one stage more than a million pounds of fish were processed.
For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.museumvest.no/index.php?action=static&id=35

Theta Museum on Bryggen
The Theta Resistance Museum is found in Bryggen. The museum is found in the secret headquarters of the Theta Resistance movement, which operated during the Nazi Occupation between 1940 and 1945. You can see the cramped conditions in which the young volunteers organised the Resistance and maintained contact with the government which was in exile. The room was used until 1942 when it was discovered by the Germans who destroyed it. The room that you see today is a reconstruction. The museum is open from Mid May until Mid September and admission is NOK20 for adults and NKO5 for children.

Traveller's Tip

The museum can be hard to find so just look for a carved image of a unicorn placed in a prominent place on the facade of an old building directly facing the quay in Bryggen. You then need to walk away from the water down a narrow alleyway that runs perpendicular with the waterfront until you see a sign directing you to the museum on the third floor. The building stands at the entrance to Enhjørningsgarden.

Bryggens Museum
This is one of the most popular museums in Bergen and stands on the site of the first settlement of Bergen. The foundations of the building are around 800 years old. Archaeologiacl findings from this time are found on display in the museum including ceramics, runic inscriptions, medieval artefacts, tools and some skulls. The museum also hosts temporary and themed exhibitions. This is the starting place for the historic walk through Bryggens and it is good to visit the museum before embarking on the tour.
For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.bymuseet.no/?vis=77

Traveller's Tip

If you happen to be in Bergen on a Sunday in summer then you can take an unusual trip on an old steam train. Every Sunday between the 17th June and the 9th September you can travel on the Old Voss Steam Railway from Garnes which is to the north of the city centre of Bergen to Midttun. This journey is around 18 kilometres long. You begin your day taking a historic ferry from Bryggen harbour to the railway museum at Garnes where you take the train and then back to Bergen by bus. The whole trip takes around 4 hours and starts at around 9am. Prices start from around 195NOK for all the transport.
For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.njk.no/index.php/gamle-vossebanen-tog-i-vesterled (in Norwegian only)