With a length of 179 km (111 miles), the Hardangerfjord in the county of Hordaland in Norway is the third largest fjord in the world and the second largest in Norway. The surrounding district is called Hardanger.
The Hardangerfjord starts at the Atlantic Ocean just south of Bergen (SW Norway). Here the fjord penetrates in a north easterly direction until it meets the grand mountain plateau of Hardangervidda. The longest branch of the Hardangerfjord is Sørfjorden which cuts south about 50 km from the main fjord. Its maximum depth is more than 800 m (2,624 ft) just outside Norheimsund in the middle of the fjord.
About 10,000 years ago the Scandinavian land mass started to rise up as enormous glacial ice started to melt. The lower parts of the valleys became flooded, and so created what we today know as the Hardangerfjord. The valley was originally not only made through glacial erosion but by the high pressure melting water which pushed its way beneath the ice.
On the Folgefonn peninsula which belongs to the Hardangerfjord, the third largest glacier in Norway is found. With its three parts, the Folgefonn glacier covers an area of 220 km² (85 sq mi), and is an area which in 2005 became protected as a national park.
The history of the fjord goes far beyond its Viking history, back to the time of hunters on the surrounding mountains, and later on, farming along this fertile area which today is considered the fruit orchard of Norway. Later the fjord became the birthplace for a large tourism influx to Norway, and in 1875 Thomas Cook started weekly cruise departures from London to the Hardangerfjord, due to its spectacular nature, glaciers and grand waterfalls. Soon after this many of the major waterfalls became the power source for large industries in fjord settlements such as Odda.
Today the Hardangerfjord is witness to a renaissance in tourism and new infrastructure for travellers has once again become an industry for the local communities along the fjord.
The fjord has good conditions for fish farming. Fish farms yearly produce more than 40.000 tons of salmon and rainbow trout (2002) and makes the Hardangerfjord one of four major fish farming regions in the world.
The contemporary fjord is divided among the 13 municipalities Bømlo, Eidfjord, Etne, Granvin, Jondal, Kvam, Kvinnherad, Odda, Sund, Sveio, Tysnes, Ullensvang and Ulvik. The total number of inhabitants for all these municipalities is only a bit more than 70 thousand - on a total area of 8,471 km².
Side fjords which connect with Hardangerfjord
From west to east:
Hordaland Coat of Arms
Hordaland is a county in Norway, bordering Sogn og Fjordane, Buskerud, Telemark, and Rogaland. Hordaland is the third largest county after Akershus and Oslo by population. The county administration is located in Bergen. Before 1972, the city of Bergen was its own separate county apart from Hordaland.
The name Hordaland
Until 1919 the name of the county was Søndre Bergenhus amt which meant '(the) southern (part of) Bergenhus amt'. (The old Bergenhus amt was created in 1662 and was divided in 1763.)
The coat-of-arms were officially granted on 1 December 1961. They were designed by Magnus Hardeland, but the general design had been originally used in the Sunnhordland region during the 14th century. In the early 20th century, leaders of the county began using the old arms as a symbol for the county once again. The arms are on a red background and consist of two golden axes that are crossed with a golden crown above them.
In 1662, the len were replaced by amts. Bergenhus amt consisted of Hordaland, Sogn og Fjordane, Sunnmøre, Troms, and Nordland. In 1763, the amt was divided into northern and southern parts: Nordre Bergenhus amt and Søndre Bergenhus amt. Søndre Bergenhus amt was re-named Hordaland fylke in 1919.
The city of Bergen was classified as a city-county (byamt) from 1831-1972. During that time in 1915, the municipality of Årstad was annexed into Bergen. In 1972, the neighboring municipalities of Arna, Fana, Laksevåg, and Åsane were annexed into the city of Bergen. Also at that same time, the city of Bergen lost its county status, and became a part of Hordaland county.
The county also has a County Governor (fylkesmann) who is the representative of the King and Government of Norway. Svein Alsaker has been the County Governor of Hordaland since 1998.
The municipalities in Hordaland are divided among four district courts (tingrett): Nordhordland, Sunnhordland, Bergen, and Hardanger. Hordaland is also part of the Gulating Court of Appeal district based in Bergen.
* Nordhordland District Court: Askøy, Austevoll, Austrheim, Fedje, Fjell, Fusa, Lindås, Masfjorden, Meland, Modalen, Os, Osterøy, Radøy, Samnanger, Sund, Vaksdal, Voss, Øygarden and Gulen
Most of the municipalities in Hordaland are part of the Hordaland police district. Gulen and Solund in Sogn og Fjordane county are also part of the Hordaland police district. Bømlo, Etne, Fitjar, Stord, and Sveio are a part of the 'Haugaland and Sunnhordland' police district, along with eight other municipalities in Rogaland county.
More than 60% of the inhabitants live in Bergen and the surrounding area. Other urban or semi-urban centres include Leirvik, Voss and Odda.
Municipalities of Hordaland
Hordaland is conventionally divided into traditional districts. The inland districts are Hardanger and Voss and the coastal districts are Sunnhordland, Midhordland, and Nordhordland. Strilelandet is the name of a more informal region commonly held to encompass Midhordland and Nordhordland. Stril is a name the inhabitants of Bergen apply to the people living in the traditionally agricultural areas surrounding the city.
Famous people from Hordaland
Basse-Normandie, France; Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom; Kaunas, Lithuania; Orkney Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom
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