Stavanger on the southwest coast of Norway is known as the “oil capital”, but it is not as full of noise and oil as many people imagine, but it presents a peaceful and serene scene. This is a city that depends on industry, but it is like a fairy tale world. The bustling Stavanger is the country’s third largest city and is one of the oldest communities in Norway that dates back to the 12th century. Protected by offshore islands, it has been a commercial center for centuries and is now a popular cruise port. Follow me to see what to visit in Stavanger.
1. Gamle Stavanger
If you come to Stavanger, the old city cannot be missed. There are white wooden huts, stone-paved streets, a cluster of small flowers and a surprise behind a small window. Perhaps these inadvertent and ingenious thoughts are the reason why the old city make the tourists intoxicated. These wooden cottages were mainly built in the late 18th and early 19th centuries with a total of 173 sets. They were mainly used as the settlement for the fishing and canning workers. Unlike most European old towns, the old town is still dominated by residential functions and it’s especially quiet. There are only a few tourists. There is no coffee shop neither souvenir shop. A wooden door is occasionally opened, the owner is holding the dog out.
2. Norwegian Petroleum Museum
The story of oil may not seem striking, but this innovative museum makes it interesting. The museum combines science, technology, history, environmental and social issues and it’s located in a building similar to a series of oil storage tanks above the port. At the Norwegian Petroleum Museum, you can learn about science knowledge such as the formation, detection and mining of oil. It’s well worth see the rich multimedia presentations and movie screenings. The museum combines the advances in petroleum exploration technology with the imagery of important moments in the history of Norwegian development. The document includes not only the Kielland tragedy of 123 workers killed but also the commissioned report on oil-free in Norwegian waters in 1950.
3. Stavanger maritime museum
Stavanger was a seafarer city from the beginning and the maritime industry formed it in many ways from the early fishing fleet to the modern offshore oil center. Therefore, you will learn most of the city’s history by the exhibits of the museum. The museum traces back the business and industry in Stavanger from carp fishing and shipbuilding industry at the 19th century to today’s role as the Norwegian oil capital. The complete and authentic sailing loft that was operated here has been moved to the museum until the 1980s, which is equipped with all the equipment used by the sailing manufacturer. There’s an interactive exhibition for children where they can dress up and play in fjord boats, market stalls and port companies.
4. Stavanger Cathedral
Located in the city center, Stavanger Cathedral was built in the 12th century by the Worcester British Reginald. The cathedral is a three-lane Romanesque church. After a fire in 1272, the cathedral was rebuilt in Gothic style and the entire church was renovated in the 19th century. Famous interior features include a beautifully carved baroque pulpit, Gothic stone fonts and stained glass depicting the East Window of the New Testament scene. Behind the cathedral is the former Bishop’s Palace where we can overlook the small lake in the heart of the city.
5. Sverd i fjell
The Sverd i fjell is a sculpture commemorating the “Battle of Hafrsfjord”. It consists of three Viking giant swords of more than ten meters high representing peace, unity and freedom. In 1983, King Olav uncloaked the “Sword in the Rock” designed by sculptor Fritz Røed. The sword is melted into the ancient sword found from all over the country, which can be described as “casting a sword as a sword.” The three giant swords of the sea were inserted into the earth like the patron saint of the city that resists the frenzy of the sea.
6. Flor & Fjære
Flor & Fjære (Flower Island) is located on the outskirts of Stavanger. There are large areas of palm groves on the island. A variety of flowers bloom and the landscaping design is beautiful. There is also a rocky area and an oasis opened by gardeners. It is called ‘the garden of Eden’ by the locals.
7. Canning Museum
Who would have thought that sardines would be so interesting? Venus Packaging is one of about 70 canneries in Stavanger and one of the 250 canneries in Norway, and it has regained its appearance during World War I. The exhibits display the capture and processing of Norwegian sardines since 1879. These small fish were one of Norway’s most important export products in the mid-1950s. You can see how to handle the fish and follow the machine improvements. One of the most interesting is a machine made in Germany in the 1930s, which put the can on greaseproof paper and attach a key. And then it placed the label in the proper position. The collection of labels displayed upstairs is the colorful sample of more than 40,000 different designs used. Children have the opportunity to dress up as canners and taste Norwegian waffles in the coffee shops of the real 19th century workers’ cabin.
8. Stavanger Museum
The Stavanger Museum is more than just a museum: an exhibition of natural and cultural history, and a children’s museum. This is a great one-stop museum that offers the useful background of the roots of urban culture and flora and fauna. It tells the fascinating story of how the sea has shaped the community for centuries. Most of the museum’s collections are the legacy of Stavanger seafarers and missionaries who travel to exotic places and they brought back art and cultural treasures.
Breidablikk is a gorgeous villa of merchant that was built in 1881. You will see original Victorian furniture, fabrics, chandeliers, ceramic stoves, small furnishings and even flower arrangements, as well as the most important Norwegian artists’ portfolios, which are still the same as in the 1880s,. The house display furniture from different eras – the library and restaurant of the 1950s, and even the bomb shelter installed by his family in 1939. You can equally visit the servant quarters, laundry rooms, barns with farm tools and these beautiful landscaped gardens and carriages.
10. Algard Cathedral
The Algard church is as growing out of the ground. It rises slowly with the surrounding hillsides and points to the sky. The structure of the church is based on squares and triangles. In Christianity, the triangle represents the Trinity. The square symbolizes the Earth and its four corners. The white painted wooden walls and white roofs are light and soft that are like tents, which tilts up at one end with the light entering the building through a glass curtain wall. The roof is divided into triangles, and every other one is pulled up to form a skylight for providing plenty of light for the interior. The main entrance of the building faces to the city square on the street. The upper part is covered by a white conical curved canopy. The unfolded staircase is like a welcome arm, so the bishop here is called the “church with open arms”.