Bergen, Norway, the nation's second most populous city. It lies on the west coast, some 190 miles (305 km) west-northwest of Oslo. The city fronts on an inlet of the North Sea and is bounded on three sides by rocky hills. Bergen is one of Norway's leading seaports and is an industrial center that produces varied manufactured goods. Fishing, shipbuilding, and ship repairing are also major economic activities.
Bergen has many buildings of historic interest. Among them are the 12th-century St. Mary's Church, the city's oldest building, and Bergenhus fortress with a 13th-century banquet hall and 16th-century tower. Notable museums include the Hanseatic Museum; several museums associated with the University of Bergen, including museums of history and zoology; and Troldhaugen, home of the composer Edvard Grieg. Bergen also has an open-air museum, featuring many restored 19th-century buildings. The University of Bergen is the largest of several institutions of higher education here. The Bergen International Festival, featuring a variety of performing arts, is an annual summer event.
Bergen was founded in 1070 by King Olaf III and served as the Norwegian royal seat during the 12th and 13th centuries. It was a member of the Hanseatic League from the mid-14th to the mid-16th century. Bergen was seriously damaged by fire in 1702, 1855, and 1916. German forces occupied the city during most of World War II.