With effect from July 2012 Vardø is the newest member of CNNS. The destination has so far had few cruise calls, but we hope through targeted product development and marketing to attract the explorer cruise ships and hopefully medium sized vessels.
Vardø is the gateway to the North-East Passage and the Barents Sea, and Norway’s only town in the polar climate zone. Vardø has a fascinatingly varied history as the oldest town in Northern Norway, the oldest fishing village in Norwegian Lapland, a fortress town, the centre for the Pomor trade between Northern Norway and Russia, and the centre for medieval witch hunts. Vardø is also a millennium site, marked by the seaside promenade, the Brodtkorbsjåene buildings and the cultural trail to historical attractions at Steilneset. The local economy is based on fishing, services and ever-increasing tourism.
Vardø has delightful landscapes, an exciting climate and wonderfully friendly inhabitants. The town’s many festivals reflect the seasons – the Blues festival during the Polar Night, the wintertime snowball fight festival, the lively summer markets and Michaelmas in the autumn.
The biggest witch hunt in Norway took place in Vardø in the 17th century. In Norwegian Lapland, about 90 people were found guilty and sentenced to be burned at the stake, mostly in Vardø. The fires were lit at Steilneset, where the cultural trail now leads and where a monument is set up for the memory of innocent victims of witch hunts, most of whom were women. The Steilneset memorial is built by famous architect Peter Zumthor, and the artwork is made by the renowned artist Louise Bourgeois. The memorial was unveiled by Queen Sonja of Norway on July 23, 2011.
Vardø has a rich collection of memorials to its Polar history, research and fisheries. These include the statue of Fridtjof Nansen to mark his expedition to the North Pole on board the Fram from Vardø, the memorial plaque to Maximilian Hell’s visit to Vardø and his observation of the Transit of Venus. There are also several statues symbolising the importance of the sea and fishing for the local community and coastal settlements.
Sailing distances: Bergen to Vardø 1088 nautical miles, Vardø to Murmansk (North-west Russia) 109 nautical miles and Vardø to Arkhangelsk (White Sea/Russia) 487 nautical miles.
Please contact CNNS for further information regarding our new member.