Bergen (Norway's second largest city with a population of 210,000), has been a centre of trade since at least the thirteenth century.

This centred on Vågen Harbour which is adjacent to the city centre. Next to the harbour, at a place called Bryggen a long row of multi-storey timber buildings was constructed. These combined living quarters, business premises and warehousing facilities.

At various times fires destroyed buildings in Bryggen, and today most of the buildings date from about 1700. But they follow the original building line of medieval times, with narrow passageways between the buildings (providing a challenge for photography).


Frank Stamford

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Three examples of early eighteenth century buildings at Bryggen. The buildings stretch a long way back, and the dark openings lead to long alleyways, which are sufficiently wide for horse-drawn vehicles to take goods to the nearby wharves.

A wider view of some of the buildings at Bryggen. This is now a mecca for tourists, and the buildings are occupied by shops catering to the tourist trade.

bridge pier

Most of the buildings are timber, these rendered buildings at the back are unusual.

Another view of buildings at the back of Bryggen.

At the back of Bryggen, this shows a rough timber building between two narrow alleyways. Note the gables which provided shelter over cranes or block and tackle equipment to lower goods from the warehouses.

Another timber building at the back of Bryggen, with a stone building to the right.

A rather rough verandah on a building at the back of Bryggen.

View down one of the alleyways between the buildings of Bryggen. This was where goods were transferred from the warehouses on drays to be taken to the waiting ships at the docks nearby .

A view down one of the alleys.

Loading arrangements.

A horse drawn vehicle in a verandah down one of the alleys.

Not far from Bryggen there are a collection of interesting old stone buildings.

I don't know what it is the entrance to, but I like it!.

Leading to bridge

More stone buildings near Bryggen.

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All photographs Copyright Frank Stamford, 2008, who may be contacted by email at:

Last updated: 27 August 2008