Bryggen (the dock) is a series of Hanseatic commercial buildings lining the eastern side of the Vågen harbour in Bergen, Norway. Bryggen has since 1979 been on the UNESCO list for World Cultural Heritage sites.
The city of Bergen was founded around 1070 within the original boundaries of Tyskebryggen. Around 1350 a Kontor of the Hanseatic League was established there, and Tyskebryggen became the centre of the Hanseatic commercial activities in Norway. Today, Bryggen houses museums, shops, restaurants and pubs.
In 1702, the buildings belonging to the Hanseatic League were damaged by fire. They were rebuilt, and some of these were later demolished, and some were destroyed by fire. In 1754, the operations of the office at Bryggen, ended "when all the properties were transferred to Norwegian citizens".
Throughout history, Bergen has experienced many fires, since, traditionally, most houses were made from wood. This was also the case for Bryggen, and as of today, around a quarter dates back to the time after 1702, when the older wharfside warehouses and administrative buildings burned down. The rest predominantly consists of younger structures, although there are some stone cellars that date back to the 15th century.
Parts of Bryggen were destroyed in a fire in 1955. A thirteen-year archaeological excavation followed, revealing the day-to-day runic inscriptions known as the Bryggen inscriptions. The Bryggen museum was built in 1976 on part of the site cleared by the fire.
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