The Foynogarden (Foyn House) is a listed building that shows the town centre's oldest existing town house as they were normally laid out, with a warehouse down by the harbour and the main house up facing the street. To meet the needs of the entire household, a workshop, stall, barn, hayloft and a garden were located between the main house and the warehouse. The main house facing Nedre Langgate exemplified a patrician's house from the 1700s.
Here the Foyn family lived and here Svend Foyn was born in 1800. In the 1840s there were 29 warehouses along the wharves. They tipical gabled roots characterised the harbour area. Wharf facilities with ample storage were necessary for target-scale commerce. The sea was still the town's most important trade routem closely connected to the fjord, the Island and the ocean. The wharves were the pulsating heart of the town's daily life.
The foundations of the Church of St.Michael represent the oldest known building on the castle cliff. It was built before 1190 AD. It was mentioned in 1191 in connection with a tale of a journey of Danish pilgrims to Jerusalem. Originally a romanesque church the choir was lengthened and rebuilt in gothic style at the beginning of the 14th century. In 1405 Margrete, queen of Denmark and the Kalmar union, sent one of her men on pilgrimage to sanktae Mikels bergh.
The main tower of the castle was finished in 1276 for King Magnus Hakonsson and he started to build the castle from 1280.
The castle was named Tunsberghus from 1340's. The encircling walls were then modernised with round flanking towers. The castle lost its importance as a royal residence after 1350 but kept its function as an administative and military centre of a large hinterland.
After 1503 the ruins of the castle were destroyed and used as building material in the town and at Jarlsberg Manor. On a map from 1707 the castle is named Ruineret Slot (Ruined Castle).
The present tower was erected in 1888. About 1/10 of the castle area was excavated by archaeologists in 1877, 1898 and 1924-1933.
The Royal residence with hall and solar was built in the reign of King Hakon Hakonsson (1217 - 1263 AD). The building stood at the western part of the inner castle yard, probably with a connecting passage to the Church of St. Michael. The ground floor was built of stone but the first floor timber was probably used.
The southern gate tower was the main entrance of the castle, facing the town. A steep bridle path ran from the town behind the Domkirke up to the castle. Today's road was built in the 19th century. the gate has been decorated with glazed bricks.
The castlecliff is originally believed to have been a stronghold back in very early times. The firsrt hnow fortifications however dates back as late as 1165.
During the civil war the fortified cliff was a great military importance. Those 12th and early 13th century fortifications are little known, but were probably mainly built of timber.
The rulers hakon Hakanson and Magnus Lagaboter raised Tunsberghus during the 13th century. It became Norway's largest fortress, a main point in the defence of the south and an administrative centre.
Tunsberghus is one of the main exponents of medieval brick architecture in Norway. Bricks were made in a kiln north of the castlecliff.
In the 15th century the castle lost its military importance and fell into disrepair. The end came in 1503 when it was captured and burnt by swedish forces. Excavations started in the last century but the investigations are not completed.
the royal palace on the shore beneath the castlecliff was built in the middle od the 13th century. In the 16th century it belonged to the mayor of Tonsberg. The cellars of a hall are found and the foundations of an encircling wall, to the north of the hall. The ruins seems to belong to the northwestern part of the palace. The palace was dug out and restored in 1960 and 1961.
Coastal hunting of seals has a long tradition and has always been important for Norway's coastal population. With newer guns, the seals were soon chased from the hunters followed. In 1847 Svend Foyn sailed the polar vessel haabet (Hope) into the drift ice on east coast of Greenland, catching seals in great numbers. Soon eleven seal hunting vessels went north from tonsberg to the Artic Ocean, and around 700 men were involved in the hunt. In the 1860 Svend Foyn industrialised whaling, then primitive, by exploting contemporary technical inventions, the steamship and the explosive tipped harpoon, thereby introducing a new era in the history of the whaling.
The Domkirke of Tonsberg was built in the 1858 and it was restored in the 1939 by A. Arneberg. Inside the Cathedral there is a nice altar built in the 1621 and it come from the old Mariakirke that was where now there is the cathedral.
The ruins of the old fortress Tunsberghus lies on a hill in the middle of the town. Here you can get a marvellous panorama view of Tønsberg and its surroundings, walk among ruins from the Viking era and also visit the Tower (Slottsfjelltårnet).
A historic site.
The tower was built for Tønsberg's millenial celebrations in 1871, and is situated in the middle of the ruins of Tunsberghus, the mideveal castle of the local kings.
You can enter the tower, and climb to the top. On various levels of the tower you can usually find art exhibitions and also information on the history of Tunsberghus. From the top outdoor level you have a magnificent view of the town and the surroundings.
From the hill of the Castrum Tunsbergis you can see a wonderful landcape over the town and the fjord.
In Tonsberg there are some many old buildings like the wooden house of Nordbyen and Britannia House, an house built in the 1700 with a facade in style Luis XVI.
In front of the Domkirke there is a very nice park where you can see some sculputeres made by Per and Gustav Vigeland.