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.
In the 1300s Bergen was a trading centre of European dimension. The town is thought to have had around 7000 inhabitants and was the largest and most important in the country. In a European context it was an average size town. At this time the most tightly built town area was still mostly east of Vågen from Holmen in the north to Vågsbotn in the south. Already in medieval times, latest in the 1340s, this area was called Bryggen.
Close to the tunnel opening at Amalie Skrams vei in Ssandviken, there is a cultural monument of European dimensions; a rope making works that produced rope and fishing tackle for West and North Norway.
During the 1300s Strandsiden changed from a rural area with a monastery to a pulsating trading centre with boathouses, storehouses and embankment.
Vågsbotn was the name of the innermost part of the eastern part of town from Auta-almenning (today’s Vetrlidsalmenning), skirting the bottom of Vågen to Allehelgenskirken (All Saints’ Church) (at the present Allehelgensgate). In early medieval times Vågen reached almost all the way to Olavskirken (the Cathedral). It was a relatively wide bay inside the premonitory where Korskirken was built. The area was therefore much shorter than what is known as Vågsbunnen today.
Ullensvang church, situated beside the vicarage, in idyllic surroundings on the headland just inside Lofthus municipality, is mentioned for the first time in written sources in 1309. At that time the present Gothic stone church must have been new. Judging by the style in the western portal and the eastern chancel windows, the church must have been built around 1300 or just before, probably by builders from Bergen influenced by the English Gothic style.