Halsnøy Monastery is situated in the midst of the lush fjord country in Sunnhordland, on one of the old spits, or “necks”, that has given name to the island. Gently sloping fields lead down to the sea on both sides, in the south towards the Kloster Fjord, to the north towards the sheltered Klostervågen.
Below a south facing, steep rock at Årsand, there is one of the strangest ancient relics in the whole of Hordaland. The jutting rock wall forms a shallow flagstone – Geithilderen. Parts of the rock wall are covered by a light lime crust and on the crust figures have been painted in golden and rusty red colours.
Everyone knows the famous painting by Tidemand & Gude “Brudeferden i Hardanger” (The Wedding Party in Hardanger) one of the great icons in the National Gallery. Some have, in a humorous lack of respect for this masterpiece linked the concept of “bride’s passage” to another pictorial presentation in Hardanger. This is found on the farm Bakko in Herand, carved in the rock by an unknown artist around 3,000 years ago.
Where the school and the sports facility lie at Eidsbøen there was previously a bog surrounded by small hillocks. More than 1000 years ago this was a holy place, where the dead were buried.
Even though we know of several hundred burial places from the Stone Age in Hordaland, we do not often hit on the Stone Age Man himself. But there are a few.
The biggest prehistoric burial site in Hordaland is situated at Hæreid. On top of the terrace expanse, inside the fine birch garden, is where they lie, the mounds and stone piles, on their own or in clusters, large and small, round and elongated – at least 350 in all.