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When bishop J.Neumann was on a visitation in Hardanger in 1825 he also visited Torsnes, the seat of the Galtung family. They were then in the process of pulling down the old dwelling house on the farm. As the committed observer of ancient monuments and antiquarian buildings that he was, bishop Neumann has provided us with interesting details:
The farm Vik in Jondal has been one of the earliest settled farms in Jondal; a good and fertile farm east of the river. Legends hold that mighty men have lived in Vik, and it is easy to imagine that the farm may have been a chieftain’s seat for some time.
Bruosen is one of the few river harbours in the county. As landing place for the churchgoers, this place and the boatshed environment follow a tradition that goes back to the Middle Ages, but the country store of today is much younger.
The farm Nes lies directly inside Mundheim on a forested headland in the fjord between Mundheimsvika and Bondesundet, a farm with an attractive and well-kept cultural landscape.
Norheim, “the farm by the narrow sound” is mentioned in a diploma from the Middle Ages and in an inheritance document. This is one of the large farms in Hardanger, of those that belonged to the powerful families; Sandven in Kvam, Torsnes in Jondal, Aga in Ullensvang and Spånheim in Ulvik.
From his loft window on the doctor’s farm at Tangarås the young Hans Ernst Kinck had a view of the fjord and the Mauranger mountains. The fjord settlements in West Norway made a strong impression on the young boy when his family moved from Setesdal, from “the stifling mystique of the ballad”, to Strandebarm in 1876. The new district doctor bought the old captain’s farm at Tangarås, which had for some time been a military head farm after Håbrekke further into the settlement.
Through Adolph Tidemand’s detailed close-ups of smokehouses in Kvam, the vicarage in Vikøy, where he lived during his painting trips through Hardanger, has obtained a central position in the Norwegian national romanticism.
The pioneering tourists in the 1830s-40s brought a momentum in the tourist traffic to the fjord and mountain country Norway. At the time Odda was a hidden Shangri-La at the bottom of Sørfjorden; the farm and the church on the green headland at the fjord. But when the steamship traffic opened the fjord landscape for tourism, in a few years Odda parish in Søndre Bergenhus County became the focal point for travellers in West Norway.
The mountain settlement Reinsnos is situated at nearly 700 metres above sea level at the end of the Reinsnos lake; an entry point to the Hardanger plateau.