Bryggen meaning ‘the dock’ in Norwegian is a series of picturesque Hanseatic heritage buildings lining the Vågen harbour in Bergen, Norway. The city of Bergen was founded around 1070, but Bryggen has only been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. Today, the historic dock houses museums, shops, restaurants and pubs.
Founded in 1070, Bergen’s Bryggen area came to encompass all the buildings between the sea and the road leading south to Vågsbunnen. The pier was constructed as early as 1100 and around 1350 the office of the Hanseatic League was established in Byrggen.
As the town grew into an ever-more important trading centre, the buildings were taken over by Hanseatic merchants and the warehouses used to store goods, such as stockfish from the north and cereals from Europe.
In 1702, many of the Hanseatic League’s offices were damaged in a fire and shortly after the league stopped using the offices in Bryggen. While another fire in 1955 devastated the original buildings furthers, during the excavations, 647 medieval day-to-day runic inscriptions were revealed.
Today, the notable and colourful buildings in Bryggen still stand, including the 300 year-old Bellgården and the oldest, tallest building in the area, St Mary’s Church. You can also visit the Bryggens Museum to see the medieval runes, as well as the beautiful Hanseatic Museum and Schøtstuene.
Getting to Byrggen
Bryggen is just off the E39 and 555 highways through Bergen, most easily reached by car.
Norway Historic Sites
Set amidst stunning fjords and snow-topped mountains, explore the history of Vikings, witch trials and more in our guide to the 10 must-see historic sites in Norway.