Kabelvåg Travel Guide

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Kabelvaag, Lofoten islands

Kabelvaag, Lofoten islands


Kabelvåg is the oldest fishing village in Lofoten and it was here the commercial aspect of the Lofoten Fishery was first developed over 1,000 years ago. Fishermen from all over northern Norway sought out the coves and inlets around Kabelvåg, in the Vågan district, to harvest their share of the cod that migrate here every year. Vågan developed into the centre of the medieval region of Hålogaland. In the grounds of the Lofoten Museum in Storvågan, 1 km west of Kabelvåg, you will find the remains of this old centre, formerly known as Vågar. Stockfish exports to the Mediterranean formed the basis for Vågan’s growth and development. Stockfish became a trading commodity around the year 1000 A.D. To begin with, exports were most likely carried out directly from Vågan and North Norway to other countries. But gradually, the stockfish was bought up by merchants who came from the south to buy fish and sell corn and other essential goods. The stockfish was carried to Trondheim and Bergen, and finally only to Bergen, for export.

Later, a new centre arose in Kabelvåg, and towards the end of the 19th century, Kabelvåg once again had townlike settlement and was without doubt the “capital” of the Lofoten Islands with its police station, sheriff’s office, dean and, above all, its trading centre. Another symbol of Kabelvåg’s important position in Lofoten was its newspapers. No less than four newspapers were published here at different points in time and in 1895, three of them were issued at the same time. Kabelvåg was also one of the more prominent market towns along the coast. The market had, as we have seen, traditions dating way back in time. When the first market was staged in 1882, it was a revival of the old mediaeval Vågastemnet. The sale of stockfish was the predominant element at the Vågastemnet, but the more recent Kabelvåg Market was more characterized by amusement and recreation. People came here to buy and sell, to entertain and to be entertained. The last of these Kabelvåg Markets was staged in 1939.

With the motorization of the coastal vessels, the importance of Kabelvåg once again declined. The harbour was not good enough, and Svolvær took over most of the maritime traffic, and consequently most of the new growth and development. In spite of the town being ravaged by several major fires, the time-honoured wooden architecture was still the trade mark of Kabelvåg. However, with the two most recent fires, on 8 December 1991 and 13 June 1992, practically all of the oldest buildings in the main street have now been lost. Today, Kabelvåg is primarily a centre of education and culture and is the venue for a college of further education, a school of art, a folk high school and Nordland Video Workshop providing education in the field of filmmaking. At Storvågan, 1 km west of Kabelvåg - and still within the borders of the old mediaeval centre, there is now a culture and tourism centre. The Lofoten Regional Museum is located there, and within its grounds annual archaeological excavations are carried out under the direction of the Vågastemne Foundation. The excavations are a pilot project involving the participation of school children. Also on the site, we find the Espolin Gallery where the larger part of the works of artist Kaare Espolin Johnson are on display. The collection was a gift given by the artist to Vågan Council. The Lofoten Aquarium and the tourist centre Nyvågar contribute towards making Storvågan a unique resort.


June 12, 2005 new by lofoten (1 point)

June 13, 2005 change by giorgio

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