An industrial port (shipbuilding, engineering, fishing), in south-west Norway. It was the capital of Norway during the 12th and 13th Centuries, and in the early 17th century had the distinction of being Scandinavia's largest city with a population of 15,000.

Founded in 1070, Bergen was a member of the Hanseatic League. The city is set on a peninsula, surrounded by seven mountains; consequently, Bergen's history is closely linked to the sea. The Hanseatic influence is still visible in the sharply gabled row of houses that line Bergen's picturuesque harbour front. Even though it's Norway's second-largest city, Bergen has a pleasant, slow pace. A university town and the cultural centre of western Norway, it has theatres, good museums and a noted philarmonic orchestra.

Though it rains 275 days a year in Bergen, it's not as dismal as it sounds. The rain keeps the city green and flowery, and the low skyline of red-tiled roofs manages to look cheery even on dampy, drizzly days. Bergen is the main jumping off point for journeys into the western fjords; numerous buses, trains, passenger ferries, and express boats set off daily.

Population (1991): 213,300