The saga regarding the settlement of Hordaland started off about 10,000 years ago. Most of this saga has been recorded in writing, not on paper, but on stone and on the earth in the forest and the marshes.
From 4,500 to 5,000 years ago most of Hordaland was a landscape of forest, right out to the coast and the islands. With our inner eye we can see old oak trees putting their stamp on the heat-loving deciduous forest.
It is in Hordaland County that we find the oldest traces of a folk music stemming from our national instrument, the Hardanger fiddle. And it is still this musical tradition which is characteristic of folk music here.
Language tells us both about social distance and human contact in many different ways. The dialects show how people who have had connections and dealings with one another throughout the ages, have developed a common language.
Naturopplevinga hjå lyrikarane våre gjev ofte vår eiga landskapsoppleving ein djupare resonnans-botn, men styrken i naturens krefter kjem også fram, i mektige epos om fjellet og om havet.
The outer frame - the coast, the fjord and the mountains - are an inheritance from the country's geological history. But what, more than anything else, gives the scene colour and excitement is the plant life.
A tale of man and the environment
In the still and dim church interiors of the Middle Ages the performances of belief came to life in the gleam from the wax candles. Here the essential articles of faith were presented, here the church was presented through holy men and holy women and here the events from the Gospels were told: the angels with Maria, the birth of the baby Jesus, the Three Wise Men, the history of the drama of the Passion and the victorious Christ.
Marine activities expanded greatly throughout the 19th century, and provided a livelihood for many people. Fishing and shipping were probably the subsidiary activities which had greatest economic significance throughout the century. Marine activities brought, literally speaking, wind into the sails of many rural districts in Hordaland during that period.