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.
At Halnefjorden, a few hundred metres east of Halne mountain lodge, lie the remains of two stone sheds – Halnelægeret. Some generations ago the cattle drovers stopped here in the summer; they were the cowboys of their time. But Halnelægeret already had a long history before the cattle drovers came.
Hardangerfjorden kløyver Hordaland i to. Den etter måten rettlinja fjorden skjer seg liksom på skeive inn i landet. Ikkje som Sognefjorden og Nordfjord – dei krokar og buktar seg innover meir eller mindre vinkelrett på kysten. Hardangerfjordens utforming har røter 400 millionar år tilbake i tida, då den veike sona i fjellet, der isen seinare tok grådig for seg, vart danna. Denne sona stig på land ved Lussand.
They rest there, all as one, the silent witnesses of Western Norway's saga of creation: Precambrian basement, phyllite and thrust sheet. In the end came the glaciers and sculptured the vast landscape. Along the ground or on the horizon, from bicycle or on foot - the landscape tells its story - and it tells it clearer on Rallarvegen than many other places.
At Salthamaren in Vangdalsberget it is thought that salt was burned some time in history, and deep layers of coal in the ground show that fire has been made up here several times. But they were hardly salt-burners, the first people who stopped here. Some of them carved figures into the rock. On top of the rocky outcrop, furthest out on the cliff, a group of Stone Age hunters carved animal figures. More than 1,500 years later Bronze Age farmers drew ship figures at the foot of the rock. Both these works of art - some of the oldest in Hordaland – are still visible, carved in the rock at Salthamaren.
In Ålvik quartz has long been used to produce ferro-silicon. The quartz was collected from the other side of the fjord, from the mountainside above Kvalvikane.