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Risør's attractive appearance stems from its long history as a prime location for sailing. In the summer of 1861, two hundred and fifty old houses went up in flames in a dramatic town fire. Due to the fact that Risør was one of the largest seafaring towns at the time, architects and craftsmen from all over Europe helped to rebuild the city's beauty from the ashes.
One hundred years later, many other cities in Norway were characterized by redevelopment and modernization and the old sailing ship days were unfortunately gone. Risør did not have the financial ability for extensive urban renewal at that time and as a blessing, the old houses were preserved.
Solsiden 8: This is probably one of the city's purest late-empire-buildings dating back to 1861. It was burnt to the ground by the famous fire and then used by a merchant, ship owner and an exporter of ice.
Torvet 1: Included in heritage listing and rebuilt after the great fire. This house has beautiful decorations and a porch of cast iron which were acquired for a royal visit in 1891. The local tourist office is located here today.
Risør church (Prestegata 6): The church was one of the few buildings that did not get engulfed in flames during the great fire. It was built in wood in 1647 and is a typical baroque church. The image over the altar was painted by the famous Belgian artist Rubens in the 1600's. It is interesting to note that this picture was on the way to a church in Riga, but the ship sank between Risør and Lyngør. Afterwards, one of the city merchants bought the painting and donated it to the church.
On the Trehusbyen website, you can find "guided" walking tours in Risør. Use an app to find eleven different locations around the city. Once you arrive at the location, there is a code you can scan with your mobile phone to track and record the journey. This is very handy as you can take the tour with or without internet access.