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The Viking Age in Western Norway

Western Norway has a rich historical heritage and many visible traces of the Vikings.

The Viking Age in Western Norway
Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life/Fjord Norway
The Viking Age in Western Norway
Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life/Fjord Norway

Before the millennium, the iron was introduced into agriculture, and there was a shortage of land to cultivate. In the same period, the kings’ power increased, and large tax claims made that many would seek freedom and fortune abroad. Many emigrated, and looting became an alternative source of income.

Effective boats and weapons made the Vikings feared among contemporary Christian Europeans. But the images of Vikings as bloodthirsty plunderers are not complete. The Vikings were involved in a wealthy merchant trade, not only in Europe but also including the Byzantine Empire and the Baghdad Caliphate.

Historically Vikings often are introduced with the Viking attack on Lindisfarne in 793, when they really made their mark in European history. The era ends with the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066.

Vikings seaworthiness and wanderlust did that new areas were developed. North along the Norwegian coast, westward to Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Shetland, Orkney, Scotland and Ireland. Later, also Greenland. The Norwegian Vikings also discovered Vinland, present-day America, long before Columbus.

Find out more about the Vikings' history:

Avaldsnes outside Haugesund is Norway's oldest royal residence and selected as the millennium of Rogaland county. Harald the Fair-haired built his main house there in approx. 870, and the place was a royal residence until approx. 1450.

Around Haugesund a lot of attractions and activites are linked to the viking period. Read more here.

In Bjørkedalen in Volda municipality you can watch and learn about the vikings' boat building traditions, as well as go sightseeing on a real viking ship!

Bjørgvin Market and the Medieval Festival outside Bergen is worth a visit.

According to the Icelandic recorder of sagas, Snorre, Olav Trygvason docked at Moster in 995 following his voyage across the North Sea from England, in order to become king of Norway. Here he celebrated mass and founded a Church, and Saint Olav and his bishops held ting (court) here in the year 1024. Moster Church is thought to be the Norwegian village Church with the longest antiquarian history. Every year in Moster Amfi open-air theatre an outdoor theatre takes place. The Mostraspelet - a historical play, a drama with Norwegian kings.

Changed   2/11/2014  
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