Risør - one of Europes best kept wooden house towns, is an attractive area for both natives and tourist alike, all through the year. Few people that have an interest in Norway as a holiday resort can ignore the charming small wooden town with it’s white painted houses. As summer reaches it’s peak so multiplies the towns population. Which in turn fills the intimate small roads and alleys with people, making the town bustle with life.
Whether you come by car, boat, bus or bike you will find that little extra experience, especially for you. To get the most out of your visit perhaps you should sit fore a while by the water in the harbour eating a bag of freshly cooked shrimps, that have been locally caught a couple of hours earlier of the coast of Risør. Alternatively you can enjoy a glass of cold beer at one of the outdoor restaurants, while the sun does it’s best to give you a tan that will compete with any tan you may get sunbathing of the coast of the Mediterranean.
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There is no exact dating of when Risør was developed into a town. But it is presumed that it happened around the 1560is. The merchant navy founded the town and gave it a rapid growth. The first time Risør was mentioned as a town was in 1601. But only in 1723 did King Frederic the forth give the town its town status. To have this right to town status the town had to pay 250 riksdaler (sovereign coins) a year for the next 120 years. Before the event of getting the town status the government in 1688 tried to make the people of Risør move to Kristiansand. This in spite of the fact that there were a grater ships trade in Risør than in Kristiansand at the time. The inhabitants of Risør defied the order and for that had to pay a penalty of 4000 riskdaler!
To days town centre reflects the town structure that was laid after the great fire of 1861. In the fire all of 248 buildings burnt to the ground, while just 81 were salvaged. The church was saved by the towns women making a water bucket chain from the harbour. The remaining buildings were situated on the outskirts of the town, on Vollen, Kamperhaug og Tangen. But this wasn’t the first time the towns population had been struck by such misfortune. In 1716 70 houses had burnt down. But not till 1880 did the town get the watchtower in hope to prevent more disasters of this kind.
John Thomas Axelsen
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Risør is sheltered by a brim of islands. Placed on the inside of these you fine several nice places that are convenient for swimming. One of these are “Lille Danmark”. You find it on a little peninsula with some small natural fields and beaches. It’s an idyllic spot that the kids will love. It’s serviced with public boat routes through out the summer, as are some of the other most popular places on the islands, such as “Skallet”, “Breibukt” and “Stangholmen”. All over the islands and the shores around Risør you will fine public conveniences and litterbins that is serviced by the municipality. All through the summer season the island and shores are patrolled by caretakers that make sure it’s kept clean and tidy.
The town walk is something you must not miss. The town cryer John Thomas Axelsen will take you around amongst the small white houses of the town centre and tell you all about what happened in the old days and what is happening today. The Town Walks are regular events every Wednesday at 8.p.m. It is also possible to book private guided tours.