By Corey Sandler
Stavanger is a little bit old, a little bit new, a little bit Norwegian, and a little bit New England.
Let me unpack that a little.
Stavanger is one of Norway’s oldest cities, the third-largest urban zone and metropolitan area of the country . . . and perhaps one of Norway’s least-known ports.
Its history, population, and relative wealth are all due to the real estate agent’s three most important words of advice: location, location, and location. It is, in relative terms, in a much more moderate clime than the settlements up north. And it is one of the more significant ports, along with Bergen, that lies in reasonable distance from Norway’s North Sea oil and gas fields offshore. A significant part of the economy is involved in supplying the platforms and repairing the equipment.
The old part of town grew when Stavanger was a flourishing fishing port, and one side of the harbor is pretty much unchanged going back to the 18th and 19th a century. And strangely, we find Gamle Stavanger, the old town, quite reminiscent of our part of the world, the fishing villages and islands of New England.
And then there is the really old section, outside of town. The first traces of settlement in the Stavanger region date from when the ice retreated after the last ice age, about 10,000 years ago.
Today was what Norwegians consider a pretty good day: neither raining nor snowing. Here are some of the photos I took today:
The region was an important economic and military center as far back as the 9th and 10th centuries.
The Battle of Hafrsfjord took place near present-day Stavanger about the year 872.
The battle, which mostly took place on the water, is considered perhaps the most important event leading to the unification of the various kingdoms of the region under a single monarch for the first time.
The victorious Viking chief Harald Fairhair proclaimed himself the first king of the Norwegians.
The title of this blog post, “Like Oil Above Water”, is derived from Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. It resonates with me in these wobbly times.
Cervantes writes: “Truth will rise above falsehood, as oil above water.” One can hope…
All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com
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