Alvøen is one of the oldest industrial places in Norway. As early as the 1620s a gunpowder mill was built here. The place itself was well situated for industrial activity, lying only 100 m from the waterfall, which provided power for the mill, and a good harbour wherefrom the products were shipped. The success of the gun-powder mill varied in the 1600s and 1700s, but what made Alvøen best known was its paper production.
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.
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
Alrekstad (later Årstad) is the birthplace of Bergen. The estate was an estate for Harald Hårfagre and several of his descendants: Eirik Blodøks, Håkon den gode og Olav Tryggvason. These first kings moved with their courts and guardsmen from estate to estate. From these estates the king ruled the country.
“At thick of night a thundering knock on the door; the man in the house wakes up, jumps out and demands: Who cries? Yes, now you must out, the beacon shines on Høgenut. And in the same breath, every man knew that strife had hit the land.”
Tælavåg has a significant place in the history of the German occupation in WWII. The small community by the sea, where for centuries people had made a living from farming and fishing in harmony with the natural resources, in 1942 became the victim of German reprisals without their equal in Norwegian war history. The collection of war histories in Tælavåg provides us with a close-up of the dramatic events.
The coastal settlement of Os begins to take form in the middle of the 1800s. This is when craftsmen and traders begin to settle at the river delta.
Lysøen, this fairytale castle with its Russian-inspired onion dome on the corner turret, stands as a reminder of the diversity of the period called Historicism and a monument to a versatile artist; a key figure in the Norwegian National Romanticism.
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.