Alrekstad (later Årstad) is the birthplace of Bergen. The estate was an estate for Harald Hårfagre and several of his descendants: Eirik Blodøks, Håkon den gode og Olav Tryggvason. These first kings moved with their courts and guardsmen from estate to estate. From these estates the king ruled the country.
When bishop J.Neumann was on a visitation in Hardanger in 1825 he also visited Torsnes, the seat of the Galtung family. They were then in the process of pulling down the old dwelling house on the farm. As the committed observer of ancient monuments and antiquarian buildings that he was, bishop Neumann has provided us with interesting details:
Yddal is one of the biggest and finest pine forest areas in the county. The rich forest resources provided an important foundation for the settlement of Yddal. Up until about the 1950s, there were three farms here. Where the lumberjacks couldn't get to, the trees grew very big and can be over 300 years old.