For many tourists Gamle Stavanger is the quintessential image of Norway. Meaning Old Stavanger, this incorporates some of the oldest remaining parts of the city and includes many old wooden buildings. The area was saved from being demolished in the mid 1900’s and since that time the buildings have been restored and well looked after – today it is thought to be the best kept neighbourhood of wooden houses in Northern Europe.
Stavanger Domkirke, or Cathedral, is the oldest cathedral in Norway and one of Stavanger’s attractive landmarks. It was built between 1100 and 1125 by Bishop Reinald, who came over to Norway from England, but it suffered greatly during a fire in 1272. After this it was rebuilt and enlarged in the gothic style.
The Stavanger Museum is the main museum for the city and it incorporates a number of museums relating to the natural and cultural history of Stavanger. These museums were once departments of the larger Stavanger Museum, and are now overseen by it. Some are in different buildings, such as the Norwegian Canning Museum.
Norwegian Canning Museum
Before oil, the main economy for Stavanger was canning herrings. The museum is housed within an actual canning factory which operated between 1916 and the mid 1950’s. Exhibits are quite hands on, making this a surprisingly interesting museum.
Stavanger Art Museum
Also under the general Stavanger Museum umbrella is Stavanger Art Museum. This one is situated on the west side of Lake Mosvatnet and has over 2000 pieces of Norwegian and international art including pieces by Edvard Munch.
Norwegian Petroleum Museum
The city’s newer driving force can be investigated at the Norwegain Petroleum Museum. The interesting building is one of Stavanger’s landmarks, situated on the port of Stavanger the building has been designed to look like an oil platform! The museum celebrates the fact that Stavanger has been the centre of Norway’s oil industry since oil was discovered and drilling began in the North Sea in 1966.
Not far from Stavanger you can get out and explore some of the fjords that Norway is so famous for. Lysefjorden features spectacular scenery and is accessible as a day trip from Stavanger, making this a very popular fjord to visit.