Norways southernmost town - Mandal
Mandal, Norways southernmost town, has a population of approximately 14,400. It is located in the province of Vest Agder.
The town is built on both sides of the Mandalselva (Mandals-river) just before it enters the sea.
Mandal salmon was a 17th century delicacy. Salmon vanished from the river for some years, because of pollution and acid rain, but recently the conditions have improved and the salmon is back. Upriver you can see salmon fishermen (sporting their licenses) enjoying the return of the coveted wild salmon.
Mandal is a cheerful south coast town, with a country park and 2 km of sandy beaches. The most famous beach, Sjøsanden, is a short walk from the town centre. For a sense of the town's history, take a stroll through the well preserved wooden houses in the pedestrian street.
Today it has a lively commercial center, with many interesting shops.
Mandal has a long tradition as a seafaring town. All the way back to the 1500s its harbor, Kleven, was considered the best harbor on the Norwegian coast, and some say even the best in Northern Europe.
The Kleven harbor, well sheltered behind the Gismeroy, and with ample anchoring space for a large number of ships, became a natural center for the international shipping routes.
It was a busy port with hustle and bustle and loading and unloading of goods.
Because of the many shipbuilders in and around Kleven the harbor attracted attention from far and near.
During the Napoleonic wars the shipbuilding in the area experienced a boom that was of great benefit to the town. There was money to be made from shipbuilding.
For Mandal it resulted in great shipbuilding activity that has left its mark on the town. Buildings dating from this period have been preserved and are a lasting reminder of Mandal's vanished period of greatness.
Artist's rendering of Kleven, Mandal's Historic Harbor
Mandal Church - the largest wooden church in the country
Mandal, though a small town, is home to a number of great artists. Adolph Tiedemand, Gustav Vigeland, Olaf Isaachsen and Amaldus Nielsen all hailed from Mandal.
The painting on top of this page is believed to be an unsigned painting by Amaldus Nielsen. It depicts the harbor of Kleven at around 1858, some of the houses in the picture are still there today.
Kleven - looking down the hill to the sea
The characteristic buildings in the background are landmarks of the Kleven Harbor.
In Norways southernmost town - in the days of sailing ships - this was said to be one of northern Europe’s best harbors.
The village consists of wooden houses and shops from that era.
Where there is now a harbor and industrial estate on the island of Gismerøya, there was - at the time the sailing ships - a ship repair yard.
Carrying on these sailing traditions, Umoe Mandal AS has established one of the world’s most modern shipyards for naval ships.
Livelihood from the Sea. Georg Johnsen: On the job surrounded by hungry seabirds