Hardangerfjord

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:
Entrance, Husnesfjorden Lokksundet; Onarheimsfjorden; Storsundet; Kvinnheradsfjorden; Øynefjorden; Bondesundet; Sildefjorden; Hissfjorden; Strandebarmsbukta; Ytre Samlafjorden; Indre Samlafjorden; Utnefjorden, Granvinfjorden, Eidfjorden, Osafjorden, Ulvikfjorden; Sørfjorden

Web Refernces:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardangerfjord

Hordaland

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
Hordaland (Old Norse: Hörðaland or Old Frisian: Hörnaland) is the old name of the region which was revived in modern times. The first element is the plural genitive case of hörðar, the name of an old Germanic tribe (see Charudes). The last element is land which means 'land' or 'region'.

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.)
See also: Rogaland and Sogn og Fjordane

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.

History
Hordaland county has been around for more than one thousand years. Since the 7th century, the area was made up of many petty kingdoms under the Gulating and was known as Hordafylke since around the year 900. In the early 1500s, Norway was divided into four len. The Bergenhus len was headquartered in Bergen and encompassed much of western and northern Norway.

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.

Government
A county (fylke) is the chief local administrative area in Norway. The whole country is divided into 19 counties. A county is also an election area, with popular votes taking place every 4 years. In Hordaland, 57 members are elected to form a county council (Fylkesting). Heading the Fylkesting is the county mayor (fylkesordførar). Since 2003, the Hordaland county municipality has been led by Torill Selsvold Nyborg, the county mayor.

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
* Sunnhordland District Court: Bømlo, Etne, Fitjar, Kvinnherad, Stord, Sveio, and Tysnes
* Bergen District Court: the city of Bergen
* Hardanger District Court: Eidfjord, Granvin, Jondal, Kvam, Odda, Ullensvang, and Ulvik

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.

Geography
Hordaland is semi-circular in shape. It is located on the western coast of Norway, split from southwest to northeast by the long, deep Hardangerfjorden, one of Norway's main fjords and a great tourist attraction. About half of the National park of Hardangervidda is in this county. The county also includes many well-known waterfalls of Norway, such as Vøringsfossen and Stykkjedalsfossen. It also includes the Folgefonna and Hardangerjøkulen glaciers.

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
In 1837, the counties were divided into local administrative units each with their own governments. The number and borders of these municipalities have changed over time, and at present there are 33 municipalities in Hordaland.
Further information: A more detailed List of municipalities in Hordaland, Norway

Municipalities of Hordaland

1. Askøy 18. Meland Map Hordaland Municipalities
2. Austevoll 19. Modalen
3. Austrheim 20. Odda
4. Bergen 21. Os
5. Bømlo 22. Osterøy
6. Eidfjord 23. Øygarden
7. Etne 24. Radøy
8. Fedje 25. Samnanger
9. Fitjar 26. Stord
10. Fjell 27. Sund
11. Fusa 28. Sveio
12. Granvin 29. Tysnes
13. Jondal 30. Ullensvang
14. Kvam 31. Ulvik
15. Kvinnherad 32. Vaksdal
16. Lindås 33. Voss
17. Masfjorden

Districts
Location of Hordaland Districts:
Hardanger; Voss; Sunnhordland; Midhordland; Nordhordland.

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
* Ole Bull, composer and violinist from Bergen
* Herman Friele, mayor and coffee king
* Edvard Grieg, composer from Bergen
* Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen, doctor from Bergen, the one to discover the leprosy bacteria, Mycobacterium leprae
* Ludvig Holberg, playwright and author from Bergen
* Roald 'Kniksen' Jensen, soccer player from Bergen
* Sissel Kyrkjebø, singer
* Leif Andreas Larsen, naval officer from Bergen
* Christian Michelsen, politician from Bergen, Norway's first Prime Minister
* Kari Traa, skier from Voss
* Varg Vikernes, black metal musician from Bergen
* Kurt Nilsen, singer, winner Norwegian Idol season one, and World Idol.

Sister Regions
Hordaland county has the following official sister regions:

Basse-Normandie, France; Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom; Kaunas, Lithuania; Orkney Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom

Web Refernces:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hordaland


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