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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.
As a fairytale castle Damsgård Hovedgård lies on the slope rising up from the Puddefjord. The old connection between the farm and the sea, as we see it on Dreier’s prospectus from 1810, has been broken up by roads and encroachments in the building mass. But the main building itself is a central monument in Norwegian architecture from the 1700s – one of the finest representatives for the rococo period, with a magnificent and rich décor both in its interior and exterior.
Farming in Austevoll has nearly all been in combination with fishing as the main industry. The farms in the district are therefore small, even in a west Norwegian context.
The Barony of Rosendal lies in the grounds of the old noble estate of Hatteberg, on the north side of the Hatteberg river, around one kilometre up from the sea. The three noble estates Seim, Mel and Hatteberg constituted the core of the large estate taken over by Ludvig Rosenkrantz in 1662, after he was married to Karen Mowat in 1658.
Salhus has been a connecting point for sea travellers far back in time. The name probably derives from the Old Norse word sáluhús, “house for travellers”. The name may indicate that this was a place for an inn even in the Middle Ages. The place is eminently situated in the route to and from Bergen. For travellers coming by boat from Sogn and Nordhordland, Salhus is the last stop before Bergen. Travellers from the communities in Voss also came this way earlier when they were going to Bergen
The tax collector’s farm at Sørhuglo is one of the many farms for state employees in Hordaland. According to history, “Futastovo” was built by the tax collector Gram in the second half of the 17th century. In 1943 the building was moved to Sunnhordland Folk Museum.
The Ådland house is one of the biggest medieval houses still existing in West Norway. It is constructed from unusually large, hard fir wood, beautifully oval-cut. One story links the cottage to the Gildeskålbakken at Orninggård (Lower Ådland); thus indicating that the cottage has been the medieval banqueting hall. The building has been dated back to the 13-1400s by carbon dating.
Årskog farm is situated in a typical coastal landscape in a gentle terrain that slopes down from the outlying heaths down towards the fjord. The farm steading exists as it was in the 1800s. In 1980 the two brothers, Lars and Olai Årskog donated the farm with all its contents of tools and interior decoration, for museum purposes.