The landscape stretches from the flat Jæren area by the sea, to the mountains in the east. Fjords and islands provide a dramatic backdrop and the local population use the neighbouring areas for leisure and recreation. Distances from north to south, and from east to west are short, and not more than an hour by car.
Vestiges from the Viking Age, including the battle in Hafrsfjord in 872 AD, can be found in the region, with sites both in Sola and Stavanger.
In 1125 the Stavanger Cathedral was erected, and made a large impact on the small town of Stavanger. Through the following centuries the region remained poor, until 1810, when the herring came in large quantities to the coast. This gave the fishing industry a huge boost.
At the same time the fishing industry's growth gave new opportunities to other industrial activities. Towards the end of the 1800s the canning industry was developed, and tonnes of canned sardines were exported. In the mid 1950s new technical requirements led to the need to look for new industry. The shipping industry managed to keep renewing itself.
In 1969 the first oil field was discovered at Ekofisk, south in the North Sea, which made the Stavanger Region a key player in the Norwegian economy. Today Stavanger is Europe's oil and energy capital, and the main source of income for local people comes from working in the petroleum sector. Together with the petroleum industry you will also find aqua cultural and agricultural centres here. At Sola there is a Norwegian Centre for Aviation Technology. Farming and traditional industries are still important to the region.
Stavanger is a university city, and home to a number of institutions of higher education and research such as the International Research Institute of Stavanger. The city is also home to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, the Petroleum Safety Authority of Norway as well as the headquarters of energy giant Statoil.
In 2008 the Stavanger Region was European Capital of Culture. The cultural vision of the Stavanger municipality is that the region is to be international and attractive culturally, pulsating with offers and activities. An increasingly important part og the Stavanger region identity is food culture.
Stavanger's new concert hall opened in 2012. It boasts one of the most attractive music stages in Europe with an audience capacity of 3,000.
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