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MEDIEVAL BRYGGEN'S HANSEATIC WAREHOUSES — BERGEN, NORWAY

 

This article first appeared in 2005. Its last update was in 2015. Photos copyright Home At First.

          UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites has grown to more than one thousand "properties" recognized as having unsurpassed importance as cultural or natural locations around the world. Over the years, we have noticed how many listed properties are near to Home At First destinations in Bermuda, Denmark, England, Ireland, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, and Wales.

 

BERMUDA

ST. PETER'S CHURCH, ST. GEORGE'S BERMUDA, 1612
Oldest continuously used Protestant Church in the New World

BERMUDA

Historic Town of St George & Related Fortification: Founded in 1612 St. George town became the capital of the British colony in the western mid-Atlantic. The island was accidentally settled by the English Virginia Company who, in 1609 while en route to Jamestown, had been lucky enough to be shipwrecked by a hurricane on the uninhabited Spanish island of Bermuda that had been stocked with emergency provisions. The story of the lucky escape from the hurricane is thought to have influenced Shakespeare's play The Tempest. St. George, although no longer Bermuda's capital, remains the oldest English-settled town in the New World. It importance to first Britain and then American shipping required that St. George be heavily defended, and its fortifications — most still in place — are a living record of military defense from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The town itself is a collection of colorful historic houses that line its hilly, winding streets. Home At First has apartments and cottages in and near St. George, Bermuda, which itself may be reached by flights from the US east coast in 2-3 hours.

DENMARK

  DENMARK

Jelling Mounds, Runic Stones and Church – Artifacts of pagan Nordic culture and the coming of Christianity to Denmark over 1,000 years ago. Near Home At First Danish destinations Odense and Århus.

Kronborg Castle at Helsingør (Elsinore) – This outstanding Renaissance castle played a key role in the history of northern Europe from the 16th to the 18th centuries. The castle is famous as Elsinore, from Shakespeare’s "Hamlet". Reachable from Home At First Danish destination Copenhagen.

Roskilde Cathedral – This 12th century edifice was Scandinavia’s first brick Gothic cathedral. For the last 600 years Danish royalty has been buried here. Home At First has lodgings in Roskilde within 10 minutes walk of the cathedral.

Roskilde Cathedral, Denmark. Photo © Home at First.
Roskilde Cathedral

 

 

ENGLAND

LONDON — THE 1,000-YEAR-OLD TOWER OF LONDON
William the Conqueror's Norman Fortress has been a prison, a palace,
a mint, a zoo, and now London's most popular tourist attraction.

ENGLAND

Blenheim Palace, near Oxford, was the 18th century estate of the Dukes of Marlborough (the Churchill family) landscaped by Capability Brown. Blenheim Palace is reachable by day trip from Home At First lodgings in the Cotswolds and in London.

The Churches of Canterbury – since King Henry VIII, Canterbury Cathedral has been the home church of the Church of England. Canterbury’s Church of St Martin is the oldest church in England. The ruins of the Abbey of St. Augustine date from the 6th century coming of Christianity to England. Christ Church Cathedral is an important mix of Romanesque and Perpendicular Gothic styles and the site of Thomas à Becket’s murder in 1170. Canterbury is an easy day trip destination (90 minutes by train) from Home At First’s Apartments at St. Katharine’s Marina or The Brewery Apartments, London.

City of Bath – The Roman city on the SW corner of the Cotswolds, Bath became rich during the glory times of the English wool trade and made elegant during the reign of King George III at the time of the American Revolution. Easily visited as a day trip destination from Home At First lodgings in the Cotswolds, Devonshire, and London (90 minutes by train).

Cornwall & West Devon Mining Landscape – Major advances of the early Industrial Revolution occurred here with the myriad of deep copper & tin mines. Easily reached from Home At First’s Devon & Cornwall lodgings.

Canterbury Cathedral, southeastern England. Photo © Home at First.
CANTERBURY Cathedral

   

Dorset and East Devon Coast – Ancient geology, botany, and botany are in great evidence along the English Channel cliffs here, within easy day trip reach of Home At First’s Devonshire lodgings.

Durham Castle and Cathedral – The 11th century Durham Cathedral is England’s biggest and best remaining example of Norman architecture. Standing nearby is Durham’s Norman castle, another fine left-over structure from post-Conquest times. Durham is reachable as a long day trip from Home At First’s lodgings in North Yorkshire.

Frontiers of the Roman Empire: Hadrian’s Wall – Remarkably, still standing sections of the Roman border wall separating England from Scotland extend from near Carlisle to near Newcastle. England’s Great Wall can be explored during day trips from Home At First destinations in the Scottish Borders, and from England’s Lake District.

Ironbridge Gorge – The Industrial Revolution flowered in this obscure Shropshire valley early in the 18th century. Today it looks more like an art colony than the place of smoke, fire, steam, and noise that signaled the coming of modernity. An easy day trip from Home At First’s Shropshire/Cheshire lodgings.

Hadrian's Wall, northern England. Photo © Home at First.
HADRIAN'S Wall, northern England

Maritime Greenwich – The high achievements of England’s

 

17th and 18th century Age of Reason are on display here. Inigo Jones’s Queen’s House, Christopher Wren’s Royal Naval College, the Old Royal Observatory, and the Prime Meridian cluster here within a short ride by tube, light rail, or boat Home At First’s Apartments at St. Katharine’s Marina or The Brewery Apartments, London.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – Historic landscape garden recording botanical achievement from the 18th to the 20th centuries. Easily reached Home At First’s Apartments at St. Katharine’s Marina or The Brewery Apartments, London.

Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites – These prehistoric sites clustered near Salisbury in Wiltshire are probably the best known megalithic monuments in the world. Reachable by car as a day trip from Home at First lodgings in the Cotswolds and Devon. Reachable by train & excursion bus from Home At First’s London apartments.

Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey – Medieval ruins glorified with Georgian landscaping and Victorian additions. A prime British fantasy of historical revision within just a few minutes of Home At First’s lodgings in North Yorkshire.

Stonehenge, southwestern England. Photo © Home at First.
stonehenge, wiltshire

 

 

The Tower of London – William the Conqueror built it to hold back the Saxon rabble. Henry VIII used it to end marriages of inconvenience and counter his critics. You and thousands of visitors to London want to visit this most famous of British castles. Its easy for you: just walk 5 minutes Home At First’s Apartments at St. Katharine’s Marina or The Brewery Apartments, London.

Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and Saint Margaret’s Church – Where kings, God, and Parliament all come together in Britain. There’s a lot of history here, too, dating from the Norman Conquest. Eleven minutes by tube from Home At First’s Apartments at St. Katharine’s Marina, London.

Westminster Palace, Houses of Parliament, London. Photo courtesy John Mraz.

 

 THE PALACE OF WESTMINSTER, LONDON

 

IRELAND

IRELAND

Brú na Bóinne (Bend of the Boyne): Europe’s largest complex of prehistoric megalithic art 30 miles north of Dublin near the border with Northern Ireland. Reachable in under 1 hour from Home At First's Dublin apartments, or in 3 hours from Home At First lodgings in County Tipperary and County Sligo.

Skellig Michael: 7th century monastery site on pyramidal island 7 miles off the Kerry coast in SW Ireland. A scenic day trip by car and ferry from Home At First’s lodgings in SW Ireland at Kenmare & Glengarriff near the Cork/Kerry border.

NEW ZEALAND

 

MILFORD SOUND IN FIORDLAND NATIONAL PARK
Just one of the many wonders of Te Wahipounamu.
Here you encounter temperate jungles populated with
parrots and penguins where glaciers nearly reach the sea.

 

 

NEW ZEALAND

• Te Wahipounamu – the southwestern corner of New Zealand’s South Island, including 3 national parks: Fiordland, Westland, and Mt. Cook. You can travel throughout this large region of spectacular scenery and natural wonders as part of your Home At First custom-made trip through New Zealand. Be sure to add Westland, Queenstown, Fiordland, and Lake Tekapo/Mt. Cook to your New Zealand itinerary.

The vertical sided Clinton Valley in Fiordland National Park. Photo © Home at First.

• Tongariro National Park – the volcanic center of New Zealand’s North Island is another region of spectacular

 The glacier-formed Clinton Valley
in Fiordland National Park

scenery and natural wonders with great hiking and

 

sightseeing. Explore this region as part of your Home At First custom-made trip through New Zealand. Be sure to add visits to Rotorua/Taupo and Wellington to your New Zealand itinerary.

NORTHERN IRELAND

 

 

NORTHERN IRELAND

Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast – The basalt seacoast & cliffs along the edge of County Antrim in Northern Ireland. 40,000 massive black basalt columns stick out of the sea here, inspiring legends of giants striding over the sea to/from Scotland. You can easily study the unusual geology or start your own legends here. Home At First’s Northern Ireland lodgings are just minutes away from the Giant’s Causeway.

The Giants Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Photo © Home at First.

 

giant's causeway

 

NORWAY

THE SOGNEFJORD
One of several dramatic arms of the North Sea that reach as much as
125 miles east into the nearly mile-high mountains of Western Norway.
The famed
N
ærøyfjord is a narrow southern branch of the Sogne.

NORWAY

Bryggen – The old wharf at Bergen tells of the town’s prominence in the late medieval Hanseatic League 14th to mid-16th centuries). Its 58 colorful buildings are now restaurants, shops, galleries, and artists’ studios. Home At First’s visitors to Bergen can walk to Bryggen from their centrally located small hotel. Be sure to add a stop at Bergen for your Home at First Scandinavia trip. (See colorful Bryggen warehouses as the title photo of this article — top of page.)

Urnes Stave Church – The classic 12th century wooden Norwegian church of Urnes in Sogne Fjord country combines Celtic art, Viking traditions and Romanesque architecture. Reachable as a day trip by car from Home At First inns in the fjord country northeast of Bergen.

Rock Drawings of Alta – These prehistoric petroglyphs date habitation here above the Arctic Circle from around 4200 B.C. Visit Alta as a day trip by car from your Home At First lodging in Tromsø.

West Norwegian Fjords – The spectacular Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord NE of Bergen in southwestern Norway are the newest additions to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites. The two inland arms of the North Sea are outstanding examples of the fjords of western Norway, a rugged coast with few roads and habitations that extends north 300 miles from Stavanger in SW Norway. While not the only dramatic fjords of the region (include the Lisafjord, the Hardangerfjord, the Sognefjord, and the Nordfjord on any short list), the Geiranger and the Nærøy fjords are especially impressive for their deep waters and high, sheer walls, waterfalls, and mountainous surroundings with glaciers, wild rivers and dense pine forests. You can visit the fjords by fjord cruiser, or by a combination of car, train, bus, and ferry as

Above Norway's Sognfjord between the Urnes Stave Church and the Nærøyfjord. Photo © Home at First.
THE AURLANDSFJORD, A NARROW
ARM OF THE SOGNEFJORD

part of a Home At First visit to southwestern Norway.

 

 

SCOTLAND

 

EDINBURGH
Looking up at misty, medieval Edinburgh Castle
from Edinburgh's
18th century New Town, architectural triumph
of the Scottish Enlightenment.

SCOTLAND

New Lanark – A small 18th century industrial village turned Utopian community by Scottish philosopher and philanthropist Robert Owen. The buildings—factories, warehouses, mills, stores, houses, and school—were designed as a humanistic response to the challenges of the Industrial Age. New Lanark is an easy day trip from Home At First lodgings in four regions of Scotland: the Central Highlands, the Scottish Borders, Edinburgh, and Glasgow.

Old and New Towns of Edinburgh – Scotland’s capital for 600 years, Edinburgh (Old Reekie) expanded and gentrified away from the hilltop Old Town (the castle, Holyrood Palace, and Princes Street) with the planned development of Georgian Old Town in the 18th century expanding from the foot of Edinburgh Castle. has been the Scottish capital since the 15th century. The architectural embodiment of the Scottish Enlightenment, redeveloped Edinburgh remains a notable success story of urban planning, if complicated by modern traffic congestion and lack of parking facilities. Luckily, Home At First’s Edinburgh guests stay in apartments in the New Town and use public transport or walk easily throughout the city. Those coming from Glasgow, the Central Highlands, or the Scottish Borders can visit Edinburgh conveniently by day trip, but we recommend taking the train into the city.

SWEDEN

 

DROTTNINGHOLM PALACE
Sweden's Versailles. Located on an island on Lake
Mälaren west of Stockholm, the palace remains
the country residence of Sweden's royal family.

SWEDEN

Royal Domain of Drottningholm – An 18th century vision of the Palace of Versailles on Drottningholm island in Lake Mälaren just west of Stockholm. Easily visited from Home At First’s lodgings in Stockholm.

Birka and Hovgården – Two Lake Mälaren island sites of settlement from the 9th and 10th centuries that demonstrate Viking commerce and its importance in Europe and Scandinavia. Home At First guests can easily visit by ferry from Stockholm.

 

Rock Carvings in Tanum – Hundreds of Bronze Age carvings are found along Sweden’s West Coast are a kind of cultural graffiti that reaches from the distant past as an artistic history lesson. Luckily, they are on view just a few minutes from Home At First’s lodgings along Sweden’s West Coast.

Skogskyrkogården – One of the most modern of World Heritage sites, this Stockholm cemetery was created between 1917 and 1920. Two Swedish architects adapted the lush natural site to merge with its function as a cemetery beautifully. Easily visited from Home At First’s Stockholm lodgings.

Bronze Age rock carvings near Tanum along Sweden's West Coast. Photo © Home at First.

 

ROCK CARVINGS AT TANUM

 

SWITZERLAND

 

SWISS ALPS JUNGFRAU-ALETSCH

Incorporating most of the highest peaks of the Bernese Oberland chain, the main spine of the Alps running diagonally across the middle of Switzerland from southwest to northeast. Shown above is the view from the Mönchsjochhütte, at 3,650m (11,972') above sea level one of the highest Swiss Alpine Club huts in the Alps. The view looks west across the Jungfraufirn Glacier toward the Jungfrau and the Gletscherhorn, two of the region's highest peaks.

SWITZERLAND

Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch – This large portion of Switzerland Bernese Oberland includes many of the highest peaks of the Bernese Alpine chain, the main southwest-northeast mountainous spine that serves to split Switzerland into a north side and a south side, frequently the meeting place of weather systems from the North Sea and the Mediterranean. Heavily glaciated, this region has become an important laboratory for climatologists in the 21st century, much as it became a mecca for skiers, climbers, and tourists over the past 150 years. Easily visited from Home At First’s lodgings in Mürren and Kandersteg, both towns within the limits of the Jungfrau-Aletsch World Heritage Site. There are higher peaks and other important glaciers in the Alps, but the Jungfrau-Aletsch region represents a unique combination of geology, cultural evolution, and climate conditions.

 

 

LANDWASSER VIADUCT ON THE ALBULA LINE — 
One of the engineering marvels along a World Heritage Site 128km (77mi) long and 1-meter wide.

The Rhaetian Railway's Albula & Bernina Lines:

 

This World Heritage Site is 128km (77mi) long and 1-meter wide, requiring 55 tunnels and galleries plus 196 viaducts and bridges to cross rugged eastern Switzerland between Chur in the Rhine Valley and Tirano, Italy. Both segments — which meet at Samedan — overcome challenges of topography, altitude, and weather with remarkable engineering. The highest point of the railway is just east of Home At First’s lodgings in Pontresina.

3 Castles & Fortifications at Bellinzona – Linked by continuous fortified walls, 3 medieval castles (Castelgrande, Montebello, and Sasso Corbaro) protected the Ticino River Valley at Bellinzona, where three passes emerge from the Swiss Alps to gain access to northern Italy. Whoever controlled Bellinzona, controlled key trade between northern and southern Europe during the late medieval period. Easily visited from Home At First's Italian-Swiss lodgings in Ascona & Locarno.

 

CASTELLO MONTEBELLO BY BELLINZONA — 
One of three medieval castles at 3 levels in and above Bellinzona, Italian Switzerland. The World Heritage Site includes the walled medieval market town & the strategic heights over the river valley .

 

WALES

CONWY CASTLE
Along with Beaumaris Castle, Harlech Castle, and Caernarfon Castle, Conwy Castle
is a grouping of late 13th century battlements and fortified towns ordered
built by England's King Edward I (Longshanks) to enforce
English dominion over Northwestern Wales.

WALES

Blaenavon Industrial Landscape – Another preserved monument to the early Industrial Revolution is this coal and iron region of South Wales. Thought to be shamefully blighted as recently as the 1980’s, Blaenavon is now a source of pride for the Welsh, once the best miners and

steel producers in the world. Blaenavon is within 30 minutes of Home At First’s Mid-Wales lodgings near Abergavenny, Wales.

Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd – In what may be the finest collection of major medieval castles in close proximity, Snowdonia’s Beaumaris, Harlech, Caernarfon, and Conwy were built by England’s King Edward I in the late 13th century to hem in the independent-minded princes of Wales. Home At First’s visitors to NW Wales can easily visit all four of the group, and see some fabulous mountain and coastal scenery along the way.

King Edward I's Caernarfon Castle, home of the Princes of Wales. Photo © Home at First.

 

CAERNARFON CASTLE

 

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