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Fitjar - A Short English introduction

The Fitjar islands offer unique scenery, and constitute an important resorce for the municipality.  Because of the special heather moors, proposals have been made to turn the area into a national park.  Fitjar is a gathering of islands and rocks divided by shallow straits and channels. Traditional shipping routes pass trough the area, and the municipality contains several trading posts dating back as far as 1648.  The Fitjar islands are a popular boating destination.

Historical sites and relics in Fitjar

Fitjar is well known as a historical settlement i Sunnhordland.  Its chieftains, "Fitjung-sonum" - the sons of Fitjar - are mentioned in Håvamål, a poem in the Poetic Edda, wich is Norway`s oldest historical text.  The area has been inhabited since the early Stone Age, but only a few unsertain relics from this time have been found here.  Archaeologists are convinced that there are many Stone Age dwellings that have not yet been discovered, and in 1997, finds made near the Fitjarelvo river and in the churchyard, indicatee that they are right.  Individual finds from the Stone Age include a rough-hewn greenstone axe from Vestbøstad, a large 'trinøks' (axe with a round cross-section) from Ivarsøyo, a greenstone hoe from Rimbareid and a white flint arrow from Vik.  Copes og these finds are exhibited in showcases at Rimbareid school, just below Rimsvarden.  Here there is also a copy of a bronze axe from Kloster, one of the finest bronze axes in Scandinavia.  In the glass showcase, there are also cast of individual finds from the Iron Age: a sword, a spear, a knife blade, an arrowhead, a spinning wheel and a soapstone vessel from Gloppo.  If you would like to see these copies, the tourist office can put you in touch with a knowledgeable guide.

Håkon den Gode (the Good)
In the Håkonarpark, in the centre of Fitjar, there is a statue of "Håkon den Gode", who fell at Fitjar during the battle against the 'Erikssønene' - the Sons of Erik - in 961 AD.  The statue is the work of sculptor Anne Grimdalen, and was unveiled by King Olav in 1961 during the millennium jubilee of the battle at Fitjar.

Håkon had been taking advantage of his royal right to obtain food and lodging from his vassals at the Fitjar royal estate when the sons of his brother Erik launched an attack.  An arrow wounded the king in the arm, and he died at Håkonshella, where he was born.  The royal estate was probably on the site of the old Fitjar courtyard. on the field east of the church.  A relic form this time, is said to be 'Kongsbrunnen' or 'Håkonarbrunnen', 'Håkon's well'.  Restoration work on the well started in 1997.

The battle at Fitjar is the theme of "Håkonarspelet", or Håkon's Play, which had its premier in the Håkonarpark in August 1997.  The play, 'Kongen med Gullhjelmen' - The King with the Golden Helmet - has been written by Johannes Heggland and commission from the co-operative project 'Cultural communication: Håkon den Gode', and the director was theatre manager Anne Gullestad.  Professional actors took part along with local amateurs.  The intention is for the Håkonarspelet to become a tradition in connection with the history weeks that thake place each year.

Oppstadveven (the Oppstad loom)


Berta Liarbø lives on the small farm of Liarbø, south of the Storavatnet lake.  Here, the Norwegian textiles researcher Marta Hoffman discovered the tradition of weaving on a vertical loom, which was practised in the villages of Sunnhordland until a generation ago.  While this tradition died out on the surrounding farms, Oline Liarbø continued weaving wall hangings by hand, and taught the art to her daughter Berta, born in 1921.  After her mother died, Berta kept ut the tradition, and taught new weavers.  In this way an important part of Norway's cultural heritage har been passed on.  If you would like to see Berta Liarbø demonstrating this very special art of weaving, the tourist office at Fitjar can arrange this, please contact the Culture Office, tel. +47 53 45 85 12.

Fitjar kyrkje (church)
Fitjar Church lies in attractive surroundings next to Håkonarpark - Håkons's Park - in the centre of Fitjar.  Until 1866, there was a stone church from the 1100's here.  Some of the fixtures from the old Fitjar Church have been preserved.  Guided tours by agreement with the churchwarden Harald Johan Sandvik tel. +47 53 45 85 24, cellphone +47 900 52 059.

Fitjarøyane - The Fitjar Island - an eldorado for boating enthusiasts

West of Fitjar, the Fitjarøyane - several hundred islands - extend to the Slåtterøy lighthouse in the municipality of Bømlo.  The Selbjørnsfjord forms the northern boundary, to Nyleia and Engesundsleia which are the most important channels to the south.

There is hardly anywhere else in the municipality where you can experience greater contrasts in the scenery.  Sheltered bays, idyllic cottages and boathouses, fertile pastures, marshes and hills covered in heather all reflect aspects of a rare cultural heritage.  At the same time, the wilderness lies in wait, with open expanses of sea, and ocean waves breaking on islets and headlands.  Rambling in the mountains is one of the few things you cannot do here, where few peaks are higher than 50 metres (160 feet).

Today most of the islanders have moved away.  Nowe the area is used for outdoor recreation, and is a natural attraction both for the people of Fitjar and for thousands of boating visitors.  If you have a boat, you can esplore the islands too.  You will find good places to fish, both from land and at sea, and ideal spots for swimming.  In the evening, safe moorings are avaliable, providing shelter from the fresh norht wind.  There are jetties in several places, and containers for depositing rubbish.  You can meet the island people at festive gatherings, such as the renowned Hatlevik bazaar, or you can sail around on your own, enjoying the unspoilt nature and the other pearls from this treasure chest.


Smedholmen coast and outdoors school
Smedholmen consist of eight old boats, the sailing ship "Seladon" and a group of traditional, Western Norwegian buildings.  Sailing trips and tuition upon request.  Please tel. cellphone. +4790894857 or +4790048311, email. smedholmen@haugnett.no  or post@smedholmen.com, info at internet: www.smedholmen.com 

Culture walk - Fitjar
The walk take you past the Håkonar park, the Kongsbrønn (the King's well), Rimsvarden and cultural monuments in the centre of Fitjar.  The walk is mostly on tarred road, and some tracks, and takes about one hour.  Maps (both for car and hiking) can be purchased at the Tourist Information Office and at overnight accommodations such as hotels.

It is possible to fish in Storavatnet lake, where you will find both trout and char.  Fishing licenses can be purchased at Odd Larsen AS, tel. +47 53 49 72 07 or Koløen Bondegårdsferie, tel. +47 53 49 91 96.

Fitjar is often called the island paradise in Sunnhordland. Possibly the most beautiful access to Fitjar is by the sea route. Hundreds of boating tourists have found their paradise here, among islands and islets - there are as many of these as there are days in the year.


Hiking tracks
Fitjar's mountain wilds are easily accessible. Hiking maps can be purchased at the Tourist Information Office. The new path to Svartavatnet lake is a good hike. The walk begins at the parking space by the water power station, and leads to Svartavatnet. The walk is about four kilometres long. The path is adapted to the needs of wheel chair users, and has a number of good picnic spots with a view over the Fitjar village. Families with prams, wheel chair users and pensioner groups are frequent users of the path. Also try the walk in Rossneset. Park by the club house near the sports grounds. The path starts behind the club house.

Travel methods:

Sørstokken / Stord - telephone: 53 40 37 00, Email: trafikk@stordlufthavn.no

Express Boat Services
Arrival / Departure Bergen

Car Ferries
Sandvikvåg - Haljem - telephone: 94 55 13 08
Leirvik - Sunde - telephone: 94 57 98 91
Jektevik - Hodnanes - telephone: 94 57 98 92

Points of contact

Tourist Information Office at Stord Videokiosk:
5419  Fitjar
Tel. +47 53 49 77 22
Opening hours Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sundays 11.30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Fitjar Marina

The marina is situated in the centre of Fitjar.  Refuelling, showers, toilets, access to electricity, fresh water, washing machine, and dryer, refuse disposal, post office and urban facilities. No fees. 
Please contact Torolf Larsen, tel. +47 53 45 75 00.

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