Avaldsnes was a power centre from the early Bronze Age and into the High Middle Ages. Its strategic location on the Karmsundet sound made it a natural place for chieftains and kings to live. It was easy to get out into the world from here, and they could keep an eye on the ships that sailed along the coast of Norway.
Birthplace of Norway
This shipping lane, which is now called Karmsundet sound, was known as Norðrvegr – Nordvegen – the way to the north, and has given Norway its name, making it Norway’s birthplace. For thousands of years, Avaldsnes was a power centre for princes, chieftains, Viking kings and later kings of the land. This is where Norway’s first king, Harald Fairhair, had his royal seat.
If you visit Avaldsnes today, you will experience a historic area where you can visit a reconstructed Viking farm, a great history centre and one of Norway’s biggest medieval churches. There are also traces from pre-Christian times, the Hanseatic merchants and the ruins of a royal estate dating from the Middle Ages.