The area of Bryggen is the oldest part of the city of Bergen, which was founded in 1070. The word Bryggen being Wharf in norwegian. The wooden houses are a series of Hanseatic commercial buildings lining the eastern side of the fjord coming into Bergen, and they are on the UNESCO list for World Cultural Heritage sites.The buildings once belonged to Hanseatic merchants and the town was an important traing centre.
Unfortunatly many of the original houses have burnt down over many years and only a quater of the remianing houses are from around 1702, when many of the warehouses and administrative houses burnt down, the rest are younger although there are some stone cellars dating back to the 15th century.Parts of Bryggen were burnt down in 1955 and this area was then used for the construction of the Bryggen Museum containg archeological remains. A large number of the building now house souvenir and gift shops, but two must see buildings are the Schøtstuene and the Hanseatic Museum. The Schøtstuene served as an assembly room for the merchants, this is where they came to eat, drink and to teach their pupils. The Hanseatic museum shows how the merchants lived in the 18th century, their comfortable rooms in contrast to those of their pupils.