Contemporary Stafangr

Fri, Feb 06, 2009
There are a lot of beautiful and exciting places on a planet.  One of them is Stavanger – old city in Northern Norway. And if I was a traveler, I’d like to visit this interesting city.

Text: Irina Azarkina

The location: Norway.
The place of destination: Stavanger.

Historical digression

Stavanger is old city, with a long history. It was founded in 1125, mainly due to the establishment of Stavanger bishopric in the 1120s.

Initially, name of the city was Stafangr. The most used interpretation is that the origin name was of inlet (which now is called Vågen). The first part of the name – “stafr” – means “staff, stick” (the staff' is a common name of high and steep mountains in Norway). The last part is “angr”, it means “inlet, fjord”.

Stavanger is situated near the North Sea, so it is a port city, with shipping, shipbuilding and a fish industry. Also there was the fish canning industry. But as oil was first found in the North Sea in 1969, the fishing industry had gone to the second place. Stavanger was chosen to be the on-shore center for the oil industry on the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. That is why the city is also called as the Petroleum Capital of Norway.

Places of interest

- There are a lot of museums and monuments. The museum of sardines, The oil museum, Pulpit rock and so on, says Erik M. Lieungh. Eric grew up in Stavanger and knows a lot about it. He tried to describe the most visited places in the city.
The Iron Age Farm

- Jernaldergarden is a re-constructed iron-age farm at Ullandhaug, where you can come and the guide shows you everything. It’s interesting, explains Erik.

It is situated just in 3 kilometers from central Stavanger. There are often demonstrations of various old skills and food cooked on the open fire. Long buildings for people and animals, with stone walls and turf roof. Sunday is possibly the best day to come, because various old skills are demonstrated and you can also try them yourself.  Children love making and decorating clay pots, or making wool thread.  It is also possible to cook food on the open fire.  

Viking swords

Swords in the rock is the historical monument in memory of the battle of Harold Hårfagre. This battle   
united Norway into one kingdom in 872 AD. It was important event in the history of Norway.
The monument represents peace, unity and freedom. (The Viking swords’ hilts are modeled on
swords found in various parts of the country).

The festival of cuisine

In summer the city center is full of tasty and exotic smells.  No, it is not a usual working day of  restaurants and cafees. It is a Gladmat – festival of food. It means “happy food”. It is an annual festival in Stavanger.

- Gladmat is pretty new tradition, a lot of people gather in city center and they can taste every kind of food and different cuisines. But it is a bit crowded, a lot of young people going on the streets, so it is quite noisy. It is the only disadvantage of this festival. Nevertheless, it is a big happening in Stavanger in the summer time.

- Frankly speaking, Stavanger is a tourist place, there is always a lot of  visitors and travelers.  But it's difficult to find interesting ways to spend the time, because the main focus is tourism. It might be interesting to visit the city for a couple of days, but it is boring to live there. I haven’t lived there for many years, because I moved to study to another city. But my family lives in Stavanger, and every year I spend holydays there, concludes Erik.