Apart from the king’s estate at Holmen, Håkonshallen and the lower floors of the Rosenkrantz tower, the three parish churches in the centre of Bergen are what have been preserved from medieval Bergen: Mariakirken, Korskirken and Olavskirken (the cathedral). The Romanesque base of the tower from Nonneseter monastery church on the spit between the two Lundegård lakes can still be seen in the landscape, while the other medieval buildings now lie in ruins: the town’s oldest town hall and wine cellar at Nikolaikirkealmenning, Lavranskirken and Maria Gildeskåle between Mariakirken and Bryggens Museum and the Katarina hospital on the north side of Dreggsalmenningen.
In the Scholeus engraving (section on the right) from the 1850s the fortified king’s estate at the entrance to Vågen has become a modern Renaissance palace – Bergenhus palace. The church edifices have disappeared. The picture is now dominated by the tower “the small castle by the sea”, which had recently gone through a considerable enlargement.
It is not surprising that there are several folk tales connected to the large and unusual scree deposit that is found at Langeland, uppermost in Teigdalen. It is said that folk have been taken into the mountains by these stone blocks and have come back and told about how the wood nymphs live. It is also said that packs of thieves hid here in the old days, both themselves and the treasures they had stolen.
Vangskyrkja (Vangen church) is the largest of the medieval churches in Hordaland; one of the four “fjordung” churches in the county. A royal letter from 1271 shows that the church was under construction at this time. Vossevangen at Vangsvatnet, where the wide and expansive valleys of the Voss communities meet, was the natural location for a church.
In the Middle Ages the stone church in Fana was a place for pilgrimage, containing a miraculous silver crucifix that could heal the sick. A hill to the west of the church is still called Krykkjehaugen (the crutch hill); according to belief this is where the sick threw away their crutches. Perhaps this church, lying where it does at the old half county boundary , also held a special position in relation to the district churches in the county.