The final days' passage down the coast to Bergen brought our only truly rough weather of the journey, with rain and choppy seas. This persisted as we drove around to take a look at the city, the steep-roofed warehouses along the water being the famous Bryggen or Hanseatic commercial buildings.
King Haakon Haakonsson had a less obstructed view of the fjord when he built his hall around 1250. It's believed to have been designed by the architect to Henry III of England, one of Haakon's allies, and it remains the largest secular medieval building in Norway.
The Bryggen are a ramshackle affair, built around 1702 and the outpost of the Hanseatic league at Bergen. It was largely a self-governing and protected enclave from which the league controlled the trade in, among other things, herring and cod, until the Dutch and others developed the muscle to break their monopoly. The league was a confederation of merchant guilds from member cities and essentially controlled trade in the area of the Baltic and North Sea and into the interior of Northern Europe from around 1400 to 1800.
The oldest building in Bergen is St. Mary's church, from the 12th century.
The Fantoft stave church was originally built around 1150, then moved twice to preserve it. However, it was destroyed by arson in 1992 by members of the early Norwegian black metal scene, purportedly in retaliation for building a church on sacred pagan land. It was reconstructed a few years later and is now protected by a chain link fence.
Completely unique to Bergen are the Buecorps or Archery Brigades, boy-run marching units organized at the neighborhood level. As you can see, they just march around in the midst of traffic. They seem to have been around from the 18th and 19th centuries, becoming formally organized around 1850, and can also do charitable work.
Credit Where Credit's Due
Thanks to the experts who accompanied our group: