Photo: alexm156 - adobe.com stock - copyright.
Photo: alexm156 - adobe.com stock - copyright.

It was the ice-ages that shaped the land of Norway as we see it today. Enormous ice sheets covered the landscape, like slow-moving oceans: grinding, crushing and carving the earth’s crust.

When the ice melted, some ten thousand years ago, a majestic and barren land slowly rose towards the sky, finally rid of the weight of the frozen water.

The fjords are actually flooded valleys dug deep by the ice. In some places, side-valleys abruptly end far up the fjord’s mountainside, sending their rivers free-falling down towards the sea level below in magnificent waterfalls.

In the minds of the old Norwegians, the mountains and the fjords were the homes and creations of the gods and the critters of the underworld. They were forces you did not cross if you valued your life.

In violent times, people established their settlements deep within these flooded valleys. With scouts posted at the fjord’s entrance, lighting their beacons or blowing their horns to warn their loved ones when enemy ships appeared on the horizon.

Today, thousands of tourists flock to the Norwegian fjords every year; to admire their splendour. Many of them descendants of emigrants who once left their beloved homeland, as within it they could see no future.

The main photo above depicts the entrance to the Nærøyfjord in Aurland, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway – a branch of the mighty Sognefjord. The Nærøyfjord is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Seven Sisters waterfall and the Geiranger fjord. A hand-coloured photo from the early 1900s - taken from above the Skagenflå farm, today a tourist attraction - located in Stranda, Møre og Romsdal, Norway. | Photo: Anders Beer Wilse - digitaltmuseum.no DEX_W_00374 - cc by.
The Seven Sisters waterfall and the Geiranger fjord. A hand-coloured photo from the early 1900s – taken from above the Skagenflå farm, today a tourist attraction – located in Stranda, Møre og Romsdal, Norway. | Photo: Anders Beer Wilse – digitaltmuseum.no DEX_W_00374 – cc by.