BERGEN — Central Bergen

This is the area where most of the popular tourist attractions are and is found in and around the wharf area.

The sights found here are:
Bergenhus Fortress
St Mary’s Church
Allmenningen Galleri and Kunsthandel
Fløibanen
Fish Market
Bergen Cathedral
Bergen Leprosy Museum
Bergen Art Museums
West Norway Museum of Applied Art
Bergen Aquarium

Bergenhus Fortress

Bergenhus Fortress
The Bergenhus Fortress is found at the entrance to Bergen Harbour near the International ferry terminal and is one of the oldest and best preserved castles in Norway. Some of the buildings in the fortress date back to the 1240s whilst others date to WW2. In medieval times the site of the fortress was known as Holmen and contained a royal residence, a cathedral, several churches, the bishop’s residence and a Dominican monastery. Of these medieval buildings only a medieval hall and a defensive tower remain. The hall which is called Haakon’s Hall is named for King Haakon Haakonsson and was built between 1247 and 1261. It is still used today as a banqueting hall for the city council and other public events. The roof was bombed in WW2 and the roof today is a reconstruction of the original. Near to the hall is the defensive tower — Rosenkrantz Tower which was originally built in the 1270s. Over time it was expanded and the building you see today hasn’t changed since the 16th century. You can still see some ruins of the remaining medieval buildings such as the cathedral called the Church of Christ which was used as a coronation and burial site in the 13th century. There is a memorial where the high altar once stood. The grounds of the fortress are used as a public park and it is a very popular place to stroll in with its view of the bay. The fort is used today as a military area and sometimes there are military guards on patrol. You can take a guided tour of the hall and the tower from 15 May to the 31 August every hour between 10am and 4pm. During the rest of the year tours can only be taken on Sundays at 3pm. Tours start in Haakon’s Hall. There is also a museum on site which is located in the storehouse building found behind the Thon Hotell Bergen Brygge. The museum displays three exhibitions: Women’s Contribution to the Defence; The Resistance in the Bergen Area During WW2 and the Bergen Press in a Time of Crisis. The museum is open every day except Mondays from 11am to 5pm and admission is free.
For information about Haakon’s Hall visit the website at: http://www.bymuseet.no/?vis=78 For information about Rosenkrantz Tower visit the website at: http://www.bymuseet.no/?vis=202

St Mary’s Church

St Mary’s Church
This is the oldest building still standing in Bergen and it was built in the 12th century. It is the best preserved of the three medieval churches found in the city. A highlight of the church is the Baroque pulpit which is considered one of Norway’s best. The church is closed until 2015 for renovation.

Allmenningen Galleri and Kunsthandel
This contemporay gallery has many displays of paintings, graphics and ceramics for sale as well as changing exhibitions. It is found at Vetrlidsallmenningen 85014 Bergen which is near to the funicular. It is open Tuesday to Friday from 11am to 5pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 4pm.
For information about the gallery visit the website at: http://www.galleriallmenningen.no (In Nowegian only)

Fløibanen

Fløibanen
This is a funicular that goes up Fløyen which is a plateau in the mountain range north east of the city centre. From here you get a fantastic view of the city. It is an easy hike back down or you can take the funicular again. There are also hiking trails from the top of the mountain as well as a restaurant and playground for children. The funicular departs from the city centre at the terminus which is two minutes walk from the Fish Market and it runs every 15 minutes or even more frequently in busy times.
For information about Fløibanen visit the website at: http://www.floibanen.com

Fish Market

Fish Market
This very popular market was the historical centre for the fish trade of Bergen. It sells fish as well as vegetables, flowers, handicrafts and souvenirs. Open daily from 7am to 7pm in summer (June to August), Mon-Sat 7am to 4pm the rest of the year.

Traveller's Tip

This market can be a little overpriced and touristy. If you want an alternative for really good fresh fish try the nearby Kjøttbasaren or Søstrene Hagelins which are across the street from the Fish Market.
Bergen Cathedral

Bergen Cathedral
This church is found in the centre of Bergen. People have worshipped here for almost 900 years. The first church found here was dedicated to St Olaf who was Norway’s patron saint. It was built in the 12th century but it was badly damaged by several fires. During the first half of the 13th century a new church was built by the Franciscan brothers and this church was quite plain with no interior decoration. Over time this church was also badly damaged and during the Lutheran Reformation the ruins of the old church was claimed by the first Lutheran bishop and was rebuilt. The church you see today dates back in part to the restoration that took place in the 1880s. In the exterior west wall of the cathedral is a cannonball which has been there since the Battle of Våen in 1665.

Bergen Leprosy Museum
This museum is housed in St George’s Hospital and it is part of the Bergen Collection of the History of Medicine. This hospital was a hospital for lepers for more than 500 years though not in the present building which only dates back 300 years. This hospital is where the Norwegian doctor Armauer Hansen discovered the Lepra bascillus and made it possible for people to be cured from Leprosy. The disease which is also known as ‘Hansen’s disease’ is named after this doctor. The museum focuses on the contribution Norway has made to leprosy research. It is an interesting museum and one of a kind.
For information about the museum visit the following website at: http://www.bymuseet.no/?vis=80

Bergen Art Museums
This is one of the largest art museums in the Nordic countries with three galleries in separate buildings. These are the Stenersens Collection, the Rasmus Meyers Collection and Lysverket Collection. The Stenersens Collection contains contemporary works. The Rasmus Meyers Collection mainly contains Norwegian art works from the 18th century to 1915. The Lysverket Collection contains Nowegian and international art from the Renaissance era to the 20th century including several works of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch amongst others.
For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.kunstmuseene.no/Default.asp?enhet=kunstmuseum&sp=2

West Norway Museum of Applied Art
This museum contains five centuries of artefacts including porcelain, furniture, textiles, jewellery and silverware amongst others. One of the highlights of the museum is the collection of Chinese applied art which is the largest outside of China. It includes a series of large marble Buddhist temple statues which took several centuries to create. Included in this collection are beautiful silk robes, porcelain, jade and exquisite paintings. Also in the museum is Old bull’s violin. Old Bull was a very famous Norwegian violinist and patron of the arts. This violin dates from 1562 and was made by the Italian master Salò. Note that the violin has the head of an angel carved on it which was done by Benvenuto Cellini.
For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.kunstmuseene.no/default.asp?enhet=kunstindustri&kat=252&sp=2

Bergen Aquarium
This aquarium has one of the finest and most extensive collections of marine life in Europe and one of the largest collections of fish and invertebrates. It is found on the outermost point of Nordnes near the Port of Bergen and within walking distance of the Fish Market. There are more than 60 large and small aquariums with creatures that live along the Norwegian coast as well as crocodiles, snakes, lizards and common marmosets in the tropical section. There is also a cinema where you can watch spectacular 3D films about underwater life.
For information about the museum visit the website at: http://akvariet.no/index.php/forside/137