svolvaer 1890s

I absolutely love doing posts like this, because I’m continually amazed at the stunning images I can find of the distant past. This beautiful place is called Svolvær. It’s located in the Lofoten Archipelago in northwestern Norway. I believe the large wooden building on the shore is called the Hotel Lofoten. This picture was taken sometime in the 1890s, and was not originally in color; it’s a chromolithograph (or photochrom), a high-resolution black and white picture that was colorized by an artist. A previous picture I featured on this blog, of the Bergen waterfront, was also a chromolithograph from the same era.

Svolvær is a pretty remote place, located in a chain of rocky islands jutting out into the sea from the western coast of Norway. The mainstay of this village is obviously fishing, and Svolvær has long been a part of Norway’s historic cod fishing industry. At least some of the fish caught here were likely turned into stockfish, some of which may have found their way into the coffers of the Hanseatic League from the 14th to 18th centuries, but that’s by no means certain; since I did my “Stockfish Empire” series last fall, a Norwegian friend has informed me that plenty of Norwegian fishermen operated outside the orbit of the Hanseatic League by fishing in waters further out from where the Hansa felt comfortable going. Svolvær may well have been such a place. One of the first Christian churches in Norway was built here over 900 years ago. The historical roots of this tiny town run deep.

I hope you like these “Historic Photo” posts, because I keep finding more of them. I could make a whole blog out of them alone!