Bryggen is the historic port area in Bergen, one of the oldest port towns on Norway’s west coast, which was founded as the 12th century commercial center of Northern Europe. In 1350, the Hanseatic League established a “Hanseatic Bureau” in Bergen. They then took over ownership of Bryggen and controlled the sledgehammer trade in Northern Norway with privileges granted by Kron. Although the Hanseatic League has established a total of four overseas Hanseatic Bureaus today, Bryggen is the only monument and site protected today and has been added to the Unesco World Heritage list.
Bryggen has been damaged by many fires over the centuries and has been rebuilt after each fire, closely following the previous ownership structure and plan and building techniques. Bryggen’s appearance today dates from the time after the fire of 1702. The buildings are made of wood in accordance with the tradition of garden building. The original compact medieval town structure has been preserved, with rows overlooking the harbor separated by narrow wooden alleyways. Today, about 62 buildings remain within this old townscape, and they contain enough elements to show that this German merchant colony lived and worked, and to show the use of space in the county. The area is highly characterized by the construction of buildings along narrow passages parallel to the ports.
Urban units consist of rows of two- and three-storey buildings, which were called “gård” in the Middle Ages. The houses are built with a combination of traditional timber log construction and galleries with horizontal wood panel cladding column and beam construction. After the explosion during the Second World War, the original brick slabs or slabs of the roofs were repaired. Today the Bryggen harbor area is an important part of the historic wooden city of Bergen.