Founded, according to tradition, in 1070 by King Olav Kyrre as Bjørgvin (the green meadow among the mountains), Bergen served as Norway's capital in the 13th century, and from the end of the 13th century became a bureau city of the Hanseatic League. Until 1789, Bergen enjoyed exclusive rights to mediate trade between Northern Norway and abroad and it was the largest city in Norway until surpassed by the capital city, Oslo, in the 1830s.
When the town developed into an important trading centre, the buildings of Bryggen (Norwegian for the wharf) were gradually taken over by the Hanseatic merchants. The warehouses were filled with goods, particularly stockfish from northern Norway, and cereal from Europe. Throughout history, Bergen has experienced many fires, since most houses were made from wood. This was also the case for Bryggen, and today around a quarter dates back to the time after 1702, when the older warehouses and administrative buildings burned down.
However, the original compact medieval urban structure is preserved with its long narrow rows of buildings facing the harbour, separated by narrow wooden passages. Today, some 62 buildings remain of this former townscape and these contain sufficient elements to demonstrate how this colony of bachelor German merchants lived and worked. The urban units are rows of two- to three-storey buildings signified by the medieval name gård.
The houses are built in a combination of traditional timber log construction, and galleries with column and beam construction with horizontal wooden panel cladding. Towards the back of the gård, there are small fireproof warehouses or storerooms (kjellere) built of stone, for protection of special goods and valuables against fire. The German merchants took up winter residence in the small individual wooden houses and the storerooms were used as individual or collective warehouses.
About the stamps
Between 1872 and 1875, Norway issued a set of definitive stamps featuring a post horn design. The stamps were designed by architect Andreas Friedrich Wilhelm von Hanno and issued with a variety of denominations. With just a few minor variations, the design of that stamp is still being used today, making it the longest-running stamp issue ever, and also the "grand-daddy" of definitive issues.
The stamp shows the country as Norge, the Norwegian name for Norway, the Royal Crown of Norway, and a coiled post horn. The denomination of the stamp is printed inside the coil of the horn. The corners of the stamp are embellished with small wheels with attached wings, symbolizing speedy delivery of the mail. The early issues were in a single color; 1991 saw the advent of using multiple colors for the stamps. New design was realised by Sverre Morken and Enzo Finger.
2 NOK - It's on the postcard 2244
4 NOK - It's on the postcard 2976
The second stamp is one of the two issued on November 13, 2015 to celebrate the Christmas:
• Christmas tree
• Christmas present - It's on the postcard 2244
Bryggen - Wikipedia
Bryggen- UNESCO official website
Sender: Tone Nor (direct swap)
Sent from Langevåg (Møre og Romsdal / Norway), on 23.12.2015
Photo: Aune Forlag / Ole P. Rorvik