Get to know Stavanger: Old Stavanger
Photo: Region Stavanger

Get to know Stavanger: Old Stavanger

Walk among the typical white-painted wooden houses in Gamle Stavanger, the oldest part of the city.
22.June 2021 Elianne Strøm Topstad

Old Stavanger is located on the west side of Vågen in the city centre and comprises 173 wooden buildings. It is often the small area just west of the harbour called Old Stavanger that is pointed out as representative for the entire wooden city of Stavanger. This area comprises 173 wooden buildings from the turn of the 18th century. Most of them are small, white cottages.

The wooden city of Stavanger is however, much more than just Old Stavanger. The wooden city of Stavanger entails around 8 000 houses in several different styles – from empire, to Art Nouveau and functionalism. The wooden housing is mainly from Stavanger’s settlements prior to the Second World War. In the old days, it was quite common to bring your house if you moved from one place to another. This is the case for several of the houses in Old Stavanger. The houses were logged in timber, making it fairly easy to dismantle and bring along when moving. Several of the houses have an arch on top of the roof built to expand the living quarters. It has a flat top and is asymmetrically placed on top of the roof. It is referred to as the Stavanger arch.

Previously, the houses along the harbour were grand and large at the innermost area of the harbour, while the smaller houses were located further out. Some of the houses in the inner area have seahouses facing the sea. This is very apparent in the locations Nedre Strandgate 17 and 19, today the buildings of Stavanger Maritime Museum.

Stavanger has received several awards for its efforts to preserve Old Stavanger.
Old Stavanger is a popular living area and many galleries and handicrafts' boutiques are located in this part of the city. Here are also Norwegian Canning Museum and Stavanger Maritime Museum.The area was one of three pilot projects carried out in Norway during the United Nations' Architectural Heritage Year in 1975. Pointed out by UNESCO as one of the cities worth preserving in Norway.

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