The old wharf of Bergen is a reminder of the town’s importance as part of the Hanseatic League’s trading empire from the 14th to the mid-16th century.
Today Bryggen is one of Bergen’s most popular tourist attractions - it attracted a record 869,686 visitors in 2011. Here you will find restaurants, artists' studios, craftsmen’s workshops, small boutiques and even offices. Stroll along the old narrow alleyways and take a closer look at the unique wooden architecture, shop for quirky designs and hand-made gifts, or enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants. You can dine in the atmospheric Enhjørningen (the Unicorn), one of Bergen’s finest seafood restaurants, with its rickety floors and painted log walls, or enjoy a meal at Tracteursted – a popular place that offers al fresco eating in summer.
In 1360 the Hansas, a German guild of merchants, set up one of their headquarters by the harbour on Bryggen. From here they were to dominate trade for the next 400 years, controlling import and export into and from Bergen.Bryggen has been Bergen’s nerve centre since the late Middle Ages. The colourful facades of its wooden warehouses and gables probably make up the most familiar image of Bergen in most visitors’ mind.There are also two museums on the site. Bryggens Museum, housed in a modern building erected over the remains of the first settlement at Bryggen, houses the extensive medieval finds excavated in the area. Bryggens Museum also hosts temporary art displays and themed exhibitions.The Hanseatic Museum, housed in one of the old Hansa buildings on the waterfront, illustrates the life of an 18th century merchant. Bryggen Guiding, a historic walk through Bryggen’s past, goes from Bryggens Museum through the old wooden buildings to the Hanseatic Museum.
Many fires, the last in 1955, have ravaged the characteristic wooden houses of Bryggen. Its rebuilding has traditionally followed old patterns and methods, thus leaving its main structure preserved, which is a relic of an ancient wooden urban structure once common in Northern Europe. Today, some 61 buildings remain of this former townscape.
Find more information about the historic harbourside at VisitBergen.com and Unesco.org.
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This UNESCO protected old merchant quarter is the only preserved business district from the Hanseatic period.
Bryggen - the Hanseatic wharf in Bergen
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