VARDO, NORWAY

Vardo Travel Blog

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Here we are in Vardo, (2,700 population). There is not much going on in this town. It was an hour stop. We walked to a fort. I took some pictures there. I walked around town. I walked towards the pier. There was a tunnel going under the fjord. I took pictures of boats and fishing warehouses. For a town that is in the Arctic Circle it was not cold. I only had my gray polar fleece and beanie to keep me warm. There was one seal swimming near the pier looking for food. It was so fast I could not take a picture of it. Every home had a satellite dish on the roof. It was very sunny and clear skies. I hope to skies are clear to see the northern lights tonight [crossing fingers]. i wish i could stay longer. i would like to talk to the locals. ask what is life in Vardo.

 

Location: 70° 21' N., 31° 02' E., at the extreme northeast corner of Norway, only 40 miles from the Russian border, near the entrance to the Varangerfjord.

 

History:

In 1307, what was then the most northern fortress in the world was built on the island of Vardøya in the Barents Sea. In the 1700s it was an important trading centre, with both Finland and Russia sending merchant ships to the ice-free port. The Vardø fortess was extensively rebuilt early in that century, and in 1789, the town received its charter.

On June 3, 1769, astronomer Maximilian Hell was on the island to record the tansit of Venus - a memorial plaque honours that event. Arctic explorer Fridtjof Nansen used the community during his 1893-1896 explorations. In 1944, the town was almost completely destroyed by the Nazis and many of its residents murdered.

 

Current day:

Fish processing plants and a rapidly-expanding tourist trade provide the primary sources of employment. The population, which is about half Finnish, has dropped quite dramatically over the past couple of decades, though. In 1985 there were 4,301 residents, while 10 years later, only 3,016 remained and in 1998 the population was down to about 2,600.

 

In 1982, Vardø was connected to the mainland by Norway’s first underwater tunnel, nearly two miles long. Construction of a small airport with two 2,425-foot runways has also helped stabilize the community somewhat.

The installation of a US radar system in late 1998 has brought Vardø back into the international spotlight - while the US claims that it just tracks space debris, experts claim it is a spy system focused on Russia.

The Vardø area is well-known in birding circles for the great variety of bird species that can be seen, particularly at the Hornoya Nature Reserve, an island just outside the harbour.

There is a single tree in Vardø, a rowan which the residents protect each winter by building a house around it.

plumbdevany says:
What is the name of a hotel or inn to stay while visiting Vardo?
Posted on: Mar 03, 2008
tvillingmarit says:
I think you know more about Norway than me, like the protection of the rowan tree
Posted on: Sep 20, 2007
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a tunnel going under a fjord
a tunnel going under a fjord
Vardo
photo by: vagabondshoes