West Norwegian Fjords

The World Heritage area of the West Norwegian Fjords, consisting of the Geirangerfjord and the Nærøyfjord, was inscribed onto UNESCO’s World Heritage list on the 14th of July, 2005, during the organisation’s 29th committee meeting, which took place in Durban in South Africa.

Summarised the world heritage values of the Nærøyfjord area includes a fjord and its landscape with active geological processes, a beautiful scenery from the fjords to the mountains that includes glaciers, woods, waterfalls and free-flowing rivers, and a cultural landscape that puts the natural landscape into perspective.

UNESCO’s reasoning for the inscription was as follows:

Situated in south-western Norway, north-east of Bergen, Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord, set 120 km from one another, are part of the west Norwegian fjord landscape that stretches from Stavanger in the south to Andalsnes, 500 km to the north-east.

The two fjords, among the world’s longest and deepest, are considered as archetypical fjord landscapes and among the most scenically outstanding anywhere. Their exceptional natural beauty is derived from their narrow and steep-sided crystalline rock walls that rise up to 1,400 m from the Norwegian Sea and extend 500 m below sea level. The sheer walls of the fjords have numerous waterfalls, while free-flowing rivers cross their deciduous and coniferous forests to glacial lakes, glaciers and rugged mountains. The landscape features a range of supporting natural phenomena, both terrestrial and marine such as submarine moraines and marinemammals.

Remnants of old and now mostly abandoned transhumant farms add a cultural aspect to the dramatic natural landscape that complements and adds human interest to the area.

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