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Whoever wanders the mountain plateau will form time to time hit upon old mountain summer farms, with solid old stone sheds, half sunk into the ground; a building tradition that has roots into prehistoric times. When we have been satiated with untouched Nature, it is somewhat comforting to come upon the old mountain chalets - they represent a type of human encroachment that we not only accept, but appreciate. They arouse a feeling of recognition and are a distinct witness to how people in the rural communities have made use of even the most remote resources.
In one of the frame-built haysheds at Nottveit, at holding No. 3, we discover that several of the staves have a medieval look, with large dimensions and carefully rounded edges. According to tradition, it was the farms Nottveit and Mostraumen that supplied the timber for the stave church at Mo, and it is not unlikely that these farms received the old timber in return when the new church was erected there in 1593.
The little cowshed which lies on the fence at Kolåseidet, constructed in connection with the stone fence, has put its mark on the cultural landscape. On the border between the home fields and the forest, the cowshed is the very symbol of a simple resource management - the division between the cropland and the grazing grounds. And the way it was built has its roots far back in time.
The mountain settlement Reinsnos is situated at nearly 700 metres above sea level at the end of the Reinsnos lake; an entry point to the Hardanger plateau.
The grand farm Aga on the west side of Sørfjorden, came under protection in 1937, when the agricultural reform threatened to disperse the old clustered settlement. “Lagmannsstova”, named after the “lagmann” (law speaker) Sigurd Brynjulfsson, was already protected in 1924; one of the authentic profane wooden buildings from the Middle Ages still standing. All the same it is the farmyard itself that is the key cultural monument.
The farm Jåstad, situated a few kilometres north of Agatunet, must have been a grand farm in medieval times. Torolf on Jåstad is mentioned as arbitration moderator in 1293, and in the vaulted corridor at Lyse Kloster Sigurd, farmer at Jåstad, and his wife Sigrid – the king’s kinswoman - are buried.
Folkedal, which today is like a small “detour” from the main highway, was in the Middle Ages centrally situated in one of the most important roads between Hardanger and Voss. This is the road that Olav Haraldsson travelled in 1023, when he came from the royal farm at Avaldsnes for a meeting with the Voss inhabitants about the new belief. The road passes across the mountain pasture Krossaset and down Bordalen to Vangen.