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Skudeneshavn´s old town (Gamle Skudeneshavn), consisting of 225 wooden houses, is regarded as one of the best preserved in Europe. It could be said that the Mælandsgården Museum presents the town´s history in a nutshell. Today Skudeneshavn is one of the best preserved of all our small towns. Guided tour of the quaint historic districts in Skudeneshavn starting from the Tourist Information Office.

The main street, Søragadå, winds organically through the community with homes on both sides. Many of them have hidden gardens below the rocky outcrops. No two houses are the same, but the general features of Classicism and Empire create a fine, harmonious whole. The buildings sit snugly in the terrain, and the narrow, winding street, with its many tiny mews, defines the spaces and creates an atmosphere that is both secure and intimate.

No architects or town planners were involved, in fact most houses in Old Skudeneshavn were put up by master builders from Rogaland and Agder. This is evident in the form, layout and detailing of the buildings. Some houses were even relocated here from elsewhere. The town´s large shipping fleet meant it was open to cultural impulses from many corners of the world. The styles and fashions of Europe dominated the townscape.

Especially popular was the Empire style, which pervaded contemporary Western civilization. In recognition of this and the prevalence of white paint, Old Skudeneshavn has been nicknamed the White Lady of Empire. The Empire style took its roots from the eighteenth century excavations at Pompeii. It is fascinating to see how local craftsmen sought to recreate the splendour of Ancient Rome in their embellishments and ornamentation.

The North Sea was the centre of the Vikings rise. The eastern and western coasts of the North Sea are jagged, formed by glaciers during the ice ages. The coastlines along the southernmost part are covered with the remains of deposited glacial sediment. The Norwegian mountains plunge into the sea creating deep fjords and archipelagos. The protective sounds of Smedasund and Karmsund gave the town potential to grow in both fishing and shipping. Even to this day, Karmsund is one of Norway´s busiest waterways. South of Stavanger, the coast softens, the islands become fewer.

Did you know that the copper of the Statue of Liberty in New York came from Karmøy? Only a few people know that the Vinsnes mine, at the turn of the century was northern Europes largest mining community, supplied a number of projects with copper, among them the Statue of Liberty. The mines has since been transformed into an attractive museum.

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