Stavanger is Norway's fourth largest city with a population of 170,000. Today it is the centre of Norway's off-shore oil and gas industry which has made it a dynamic place.

But Stavanger still retains much of its history, and has many museums. It was originally founded as a centre for the herring fishery.

One of Stavanger's most interesting areas is 'Gamle Stavanger' (Old Stavanger) a collection of about 170 timber houses dating from around the end of the eighteenth century near the waterfront. These originally belonged to people involved in the herring industry.

The houses are beautifully maintained in their original form.

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A row of houses in Gamle Stavanger.

There are a number of narrow cobbled streets in Gamle Stavanger.

bridge pier

Another narrow cobbled street. Today pravtically all of the houses are painted white. This may not be the correct heritage colour, as — apparently — white paint was very expensive 200 years ago, and it more likely the houses were then painted red or yellow.

All the electric and telephone wires are hidden underground.

The green box next to the blue front door is a letter box. These are a standard design which can be purchased from any Norwegian post office, in a choice of at least three colours — white, green, and black. They are very well designed so that they will take a copy of Light Railways magazine delivered flat, and protect it from rain! Regrettably not many Australian letter boxes are designed to do that.

About two minutes walk from Gamle Stavanger, this ship was in port. It may be part of the Sjøfarts Museum (see next picture).

Also only a few minutes from Gamle Stavanger, and facing the waterfront is the Stavanger Sjøfarts Museum (Maritime Museum) housed in these two warehouses, which date from about 1800. Unfortunately the museum's opening hours did not coincide with my brief visit.

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

Last updated: 27 August 2008