World Heritage in Norway


Norway has eight sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. These are:

  • Bryggen (1979)
  • Urnes Stave Church (1980)
  • Røros Mining Town (1980)
  • Rock Art of Alta (1985)
  • Vegaøyan – The Vega Archipelago (2004)
  • Struve Geodetic Arc (2005)
  • West Norwegian Fjords – Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord (2005)
  • Rjukan–Notodden Industrial Heritage Site (2015)

Here you can find presentations of the Norwegian World Heritage Sites.

Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen, is a reminder of the town’s importance as part of the Hanseatic League’s trading empire from the 14th to the mid-16th century. Many fires, the last in 1955, have ravaged the characteristic wooden houses of Bryggen. Its rebuilding has traditionally followed old patterns and methods, thus leaving its main structure preserved, which is a relic of an ancient wooden urban structure once common in Northern Europe. Today, some 62 buildings remain of this former townscape.

Urnes Stave Church
The wooden stave church of Urnes stands in the natural setting of Sogn og Fjordane. It was built in the 12th and 13th centuries and is an outstanding example of traditional Scandinavian wooden architecture. It brings together traces of Celtic art, Viking traditions and Romanesque spatial structures.

Røros Mining Town and the Circumference
The history of Røros is linked to the copper mines that were developed in the 17th century. Copper and sulphur pyrite were extracted for 333 years, between 1644 and 1977. Completely rebuilt after its destruction by Swedish troops in 1679, the city has some 80 wooden houses, most of them surrounding courtyards. Many retain their dark pitch-log facades, giving the town a medieval appearance. Surrounding the mining town is the area of privileges, the circumference, which was added to the World Heritage List in 2010.

Rock Art of Alta
This group of petroglyphs in the Alta Fjord, near the Arctic Circle, bears traces of a settlement dating from c. 4200 to 500 B.C. The thousands of paintings and engravings add to our understanding of the environment and human activities on the fringes of the Far North in prehistoric times.

Vegaøyan – The Vega Archipelago
A cluster of islands centered on Vega, just south of the Arctic Circle, forms a cultural landscape of 103,710 ha, of which 6,930 ha is land. The islands bear testimony to a distinctive frugal way of life, based on fishing and harvesting down from the eider ducks over the past 1,500 years. Fishing villages, quays, warehouses, eider houses (built for eider ducks to nest in), farming landscapes, lighthouses and beacons are important sites. Evidence is also found of human settlement from the Stone Age onwards. By the 9th century, the islands had become an important centre for the supply of down, which appears to have accounted for around a third of the islanders’ income.

Struve Geodetic Arc
The Struve Arc is a chain of survey triangulations stretching from Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea, through 10 countries and over 2,820 km. These are points of a survey, carried out between 1816 and 1855 by the astronomer Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve, which represented the first accurate measuring of a long segment of a meridian. This helped to establish the exact size and shape of the planet and marked an important step in the development of earth sciences and topographic mapping. It is an extraordinary example of collaboration among scientists from different countries, and of collaboration between monarchs for a scientific cause. The original arc consisted of 258 main triangles with 265 main station points. The listed site includes 34 of the original station points, with different markings, i.e. a drilled hole in rock, iron cross, cairns, or built obelisks.

West Norwegian Fjords – Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord
Situated in south-western Norway, north-east of Bergen, the Geirangerfjord and the Nærøyfjord, set 120 km from one another, are part of the west Norwegian fjord landscape, which stretches from Stavanger in the south to Andalsnes, 500 km to the north-east. The two fjords, among the world’s longest and deepest, are considered archetypical fjord landscapes and are among the most scenically outstanding anywhere. Their exceptional natural beauty is derived from their narrow and steep-sided crystalline rock walls that rise up to 1,400 m from the Norwegian Sea and extend 500 m below sea level. The sheer walls of the fjords have numerous waterfalls while free-flowing rivers cross their deciduous and coniferous forests to glacial lakes, glaciers and rugged mountains. The landscape features a range of supporting natural phenomena, both terrestrial and marine, such as submarine moraines and marine mammals.

Rjukan–Notodden Industrial Heritage Site
The industrial towns of Rjukan and Notodden in Telemark county in Norway are outstanding examples of a ground-breaking industrial development and a testament to the social transformation that took place in the Western world at the beginning of the 20th century. This was a time when scientific and technological progress interlocked with economic and political factors and created what is known as «the second industrial revolution».

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