Along the Fjord Coast there are many historic sites from the Viking Age, from 800 – 1100 AD. Though the Vikings are most known for their cruelty, they were also sailors, merchants, craftsmen, farmers, fishermen, poets, explorers and nation-builders. The Scandinavian national states were founded during the Viking Age. Today you can explore many exciting historic sites and attractions from the Viking Age!
Gulatinget was an annual parliamentary assembly which took place in Gulen from approx. 900 – 1300 AD, and one of the oldest and largest parliamentary assemblies in medieval Norway. Farmers came here to meet the king and pass legislation, discuss political matters and judge cases. The Gulatinget millennium site is a symbol of the representative Norwegian form of parliament, which dates back over a thousand years.
The park features monumental artworks by sculptor Bård Breivik, whose majestetic installations Tingveggen (assembly wall), Tinghella (assembly flag-stone) and Eldsirkelen (circle of fire) bear witness to the influence Gulatinget has had on Norway as a nation. The sculpture park is open to the public, and guided tours are available for groups all year round. From August 2016 you can also take a cultural walk in the park, and learn about the history through digital storytelling.
Utvær, located 8 km west of Ytre Sula, is the name of the group of islands furthest west in Norway, with the westernmost lighthouse in the country. Utvær is famous in history right back to the Viking Age. In 1066 Harald Hardråde sailed out from Solund when he left to conquer England. 200 vessels plus supply boats and other small craft were gathered together, and the saga says that some of the vessels departed from Utvær. The battle ended with defeat at Stamford Bridge. On the east side of the bay near the Likberget you can see some marks in the mountainside. The story is that these are marks made by Vikings sharpening their swords before leaving on a raid. Every Sunday from July to medio August, you can join a lighthouse safari to Utvær from Hardbakke.
In Hyllestad, where the Sognefjord meets the Atlantic, there was a large-scale stone industry a thousand years ago. In hundreds of quarries stone masons produced millstone for rotary hand querns as well as for water mills. Millstones were in high demand. Everybody needed them to make flour for the daily bread. Hyllestad was a main producer of millstones in the Viking Age and the Middle Age, exporting stone to all of Norway and parts of Northern Europe. In the Millstone Park you can experience the story of the quarries and the stone masons. And you can grind your own flour and make your own bread – just like in the Viking Age. The Hyllestad quarries are nominated to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
At Korssund in Fjaler there is a 3,85 metre hight stonecross that was erected by King Olav the Holy, after escaping his enemies heading north with his ships. The story tells that the mountain opened up for him, and Korssud was created. The cross is very old, probarbly from around 1030, and one of the largest crosses in Norway. The cross is made of stone from the millstone quarries in Hyllestad. Next to the cross is a rectangular stone basin, which can have been used as a baptismal font. There is also an old well close by the cross. From August 2016 you can through digital storytelling learn about the legend of the Holy King and the land that opened up for him and saved his life.
Bakkejekta is a replica of the oldest preserved boat in Norway, from about 1750. The boat is rigged just as the Viking ships were a thousand years ago. Every Tuesday in July you can take a twilight trip onboard the traditonial sloop Bakkejekta over the beautiful waters of the Dalsfjord. As we sail over the fjord, we tell stories of how life was on the banks of the fjord when the only means of access was by boat, in the golden area of the sloop. We also tell you the story about Ingolfr Arnarson. He was from Rivedal and was the first person to settle on Iceland.
In Rivedal the Islandic state has erected a statue of Ingolfr Arnarson, born 840, that they believes settled their country. Ingolfr Arnarson had to flee from his home farm in Rivedal in the year 874 after having killed two of Atle Jarl´s sons. He travelled west and arrived in Iceland where he founded the first permanent settlement. Thus the roots of Iceland as a nation can be traced directly back to Rivedal in the Dalsfjord. The statue is a replica of a similar statue in Reykjavik.
The island of Atløy is named after a bloody battle in Stavenesvågen, between Stavenes and Atløy. Atle Jarl was one of the commanders, and he was buried on this island.
Kinn is known for it´s fabled Kinn church, built in the Romanesque style in the 12th century. The church is the oldest in the region of Sunnfjord. It´s history is closely linked to the legend of St. Sunniva and her escorts, the men of Selju. This is also the main story in the historic yearly play on the island, Kinnaspelet. However, it is now believed that the church was built by Celts, hiding from religous persecutors. Kinn is also known for it´s characterisitc hill, Kinnaklova, which is a landmark for sailors. On the soutside of the island you can see walltraces from the medieval settlements, and a cave in the mountain. During the summer you can pay a visit to the saga island of Kinn and immerse yourself in the history and delightful landscapes of this picturesque island, by joining a boat from Florø.