In the old town 30 kilometers south of Egersund and 40 kilometers west of Flekkefjord the oldhouses have come to life once again. Today, you can visit Sogndalstrand Kulturhotell, GalleriRosengren, Horneland's town shop, Kjelleren souvenir shop, Krambukafe, and also,Bryggegalleriet during summer.
Sogndalstrand is one of the most popular sights i Rogaland with over 64000 visitors in 2009. In true"Citta-Slow" spirit we welcome you as a guest, not as a tourist. The residents and the local businesses welcome all visitors with open arms, and you can definitely sense that there is a certain spirit andatmosphere still present in the street.
As early as the 1660s Sogndalstrand is mentioned as one of the most important small towns inNorway. In 1858 the town became a separate municipality, and it had then already had trading rights for centuries. In 1944 the town joined the rural parish in forming one municipality, namly Sokndal Kommune. In 1863 the town had over 500 inhabitants. The town included Sogndalstrand an the eastern part of Rekefjord.
Fishery was vital for this coustal town. The mouth of the river Sokna is located in Sogndalstrand. In the old days this was a rich source of salmon. In 1886, 763 salmon were caught from the river and sold, with an average wight of six kilos. From 1750, lots of cod was cought. In general, herring has been of great significance to the town at several times through history. In 1837 a record was set when 29000 barrels of herring was exported. In the 1850 - 60s mackerel was cought with drift nets, and so several large ice houses were built. Lobster was another major export commodity and was sent to England and Germany, to mention some countries.
In addition to fishery, shipping played a key role in the community. In 1845 there were about 20 families who together owned 17 small ships. In the 1870s they acquired a steamship to go between Oslo and Trondheim, and this route also called at Sogndalstrand. The stockholders were allowed one free ride during a year, and usually took this opportunity to go shopping in Oslo, Bergen or Trondheim.
Commerce. In the 1870s, many people were involved in commerce in Sogndalstrand, and altogether there were 20 shops, four bakeries, two spirits shops and four pubs, a costoms office, a bailiff, a local doctor, a midwife, a telegraph station and more. Sogndalstrand was a commercial centre for most of the neighbouring communities. Among products thar were imported were several grain varieties, coffee, tobacco and salt.
Agriculture has ever since the old days been a subsidiary source of income, as there was one piece of land for almost every house. Thus it was possible to keep a couple of cows and some sheep. Theoutbuildings were mostly located in the small town.
Economic activity. In 1886 a spinning mill was established where today's parking lot is located on the very entrance of Sogndalstrand. The mill's customers lived both in and outside the town. The number of employees varied, and it rarely saw year-round operation. The mill faced several challenges: too little flow of water, unstable access to raw materials, and it was difficult to obtain a satisfactory price level during some years. The mill was run until 1946 and buildings were torn down in 1947.
In the 1880s two people in Sogndalstrand started a small soap factory, namely Sandvigens Sæbefabrikk. This lasted only a few years. In the 1920s a man started making shoe polish. He put up posters all over town, preaching in capital letters that "THE WAR HAS BEGUN" and saying in small writing: "the war against foreign shoe polish".
Sogndalstrand had its own bank in the years 1863 - 1972, and a post office until 1968.
Schools. In 1851 a school was established in the small town. A new school was built in 1871 with 97 pupils divided in two departments.
Steinhvelvbru was built in 1882. According to the contract it cost 1.050,- Norwegian kroner to built the bridge. In 1909 a severe flood led the waters to rise above the bridge deck.
Kommunehuset was built in 1897 and through the years held a library, bank, post office, prison, apartments and a polling station. In 1996 the house was sold on the private marked and today it is a part of Sogndalstrand Kulturhotell.
Today there are about 80 people living in Sogndalstrand. Many of the old houses used as holiday homes. In 1980 a new estate was built with about 20 single houses in Åros on the opposite side of the river Sokna.
Sogndalstrand Kulturhotell is a hotel constituted by several of the old houses: the old Kommunehus, Foldvighuset, Skredderhuset, Hornelandhuset, Mydlandhuset, Restaurant Folvig, Krambukafeen, Horneland's landhandel, Sjøbua, and Fengselet ( pub in the old prison). The hotel also has outdoor seating. The hotel has 24 rooms in total in eight differt houses, pluss rooms for holding seminars an conferances. The restauration work that has been done received much praise and today's romms have high standard. The hotell is open all year.
Galleri Rosengren is located in one of the old restored houses, right by the old stone bridge in Sogndalstrand. The gallery is the largest in the district, and its standard of art is very high, by renowned Norwegian artists as well as famous international artists. Apart from pictorial art, the gallery also offers artistic glassmaking, ceramic works and jewellery made by Norwegian designers. The gallery is open all week during summer, and on saturdays and Sundays during autumn and spring.
Kjelleren is a former town shop which has been made into a sales venue for different types of souvenir articles. The shop is located across from Galleri Rosengren, and share the same opening hours as the gallery.
Horneland's Landhandel opening may 2010
Dalane Folkemuseum, avd. Sjø og Fiskerimuseum Sogndalstrand - Fishery and maritime museum. In one of the boat houses from the 1820s there is a maritime museum with a collection of fishing tools and boats.
Sogndalstrand Amfi was opened by former Minister of Cultural Affairs, Ellen Horn on 30. May 2001. This is an outdoor amphitheatre built in stone. The amphitheatre is used for different events, such as concerts held by great artists, and this is also where the famous "Strandaspelet" is held every year.
Sogndalstrand Golfklubb on Kielland is a 6 hole course in beautiful surroundings about 500 meters from Sogndalstrand.
Sogndalstrand with its charming buildings and cultural landscape was protected by low in the Counsil of State on 24 June 2005. and the official opening was done by the Minister of Environment, Knut Arild Hareide.
A new stone bridge was built in 1999 over the river Sokna from Sogndalstrand to Åros. This is an impressive bridge which has receved words of praise for the workmanship and for employing old construction methods. The bridge was decorated with an emblem of King Harald the 5. The bridge was opened by Tora Aasland Haug, the former county governor.
The Derectorate for Cultural Heritage has spent a considerable amount of resources on the restoration of the old bout houses going from the bridge to the dock. The Director General for Cultural Haritage has called the town the finest gem on the west coast.
The county governor in Rogaland has been in charge of an extensive lime treatment prodject in Sokndalsvassdraget in the resent years. The result of this is that the river Sokna is once again rich with salmon.