Gulatinget and Eivindvik, Norway

Site Overview

One of the oldest and largest parliamentary assemblies in Norway

Gulatinget and Eivindvik

Gulatinget was one of the oldest and largest parliamentary assemblies in Norway, thought to have been established in Gulen by King Harald Fairhair (c.872-932). Farmers came here to meet the king, discuss political matters, pass legislation and judge cases.

It was originally an althing – an assembly where "all free men fit to bear arms" had the right to participate. Later, as its administrative area expanded, it became a lawthing, or super regional assembly. Each region appointed representatives for the assembly; a model which is still in use today.

The earliest thing site was probably in the village of Eivindvik, near the only confirmed medieval church in Gulen. Two stone crosses from the same period of early Christianisation are thought to mark the site of the thing. Eivindvik also has a sheltered bay and is close to a good shipping route along the coast.

King Håkon Håkonson’s Saga tells how he moved the thing to Guløy, an area just outside the farm of Flolid where the Millennium Site is now located. Later, in around 1300, it moved again to Bergen, where the Gulating Court of Appeal is still held today.

Gulatinget Millennium Park

Gulatinget Millennium Park at Flolid is a symbolic thing site opened in 2005 to commemorate the annual parliamentary assembly which took place in Gulen from approximately 900-1300. The park features monumental artworks by sculptor Bard Breivik. Gulatinget Millennium site and project is a cooperation between Gulen Municipality and Sogn og Fjordane County Council.

Trails

Two cultural trails have been developed - one in Eivindvik and the other at the Millennium Park. Each has 10 stops with information and stories available through an app and on www.kulturvandring.no. It includes photos, sound recordings by professional actors, film and text, available in English and Norwegian.

Gulatingslova (Gulating Code of Law)

The Gulatingslova (Gulating Code of Law) is the oldest known body of laws in the nordic countries. An original manuscript, known as the Rantzau book, is preserved in the Royal Library of Copenhagen.

In 930, Ulvljot used the Gulating laws as a model to set up the Althing in Iceland. In 1274, Magnus Lawmender combined legislations from the four regional assemblies – Gulatinget, Frostatinget, Eidsivatinget and Borgatinget – into one body of laws, called Landslova. Elements of this legislation, and thereby the Gulatingslova, can still be found in Norway's modern constitution.

Local Things

The Gulating Law mentions two levels of things below Gulatinget. These things were open to all free men, although we do not have any historical records relating to how they may have functioned: fylkesting (county things) and fjordungsting (there were four fjordungstings in one county thing).

Local things had different functions and names, such as Våpenting (weapon thing),Manntalsting, kongeting (the king’s thing) and Skipreideting.

There seems to have been a regular spring thing, but the thing could also be summoned when anyone had reason to do so and on five nights notice. Autumn things are also known. It is likely that the local things met in a fixed place, although in certain cases they met at a specific location, such as a murder site, or in the location being discussed in the case of rental agreements. The locations of many of these thing sites are still unknown.

There are at least 40 place names in Sogn og Fjordane which contain the element -ting, and these may have been created over a long period of time.

The name Tinghaug (thing mound) is quite common, and indicates an outdoor thing site. From 1500-1600 the things were held indoors, and from this period we have a number of Tingstove (thing cottage) names.

Reed in Breim, Nordfjord is an example of a local thing site with long traditions. There is a natural mound known as the Tinghaug, and up until 1800 the site also had a tingstove. The nearby boathouse was also known as Tiendebua (tithe barn) and was where the taxes were collected.

Visitor Information
Season - Months Open
Open all year round
Other Amenities
  • Guided Tours
  • App based cultural trails in English and Norwegian
  • Boat Tours from Bergen
Contact Details
Address

Gulen kommune, Att. Gulatinget, Eivindvikveien 1119, N-5966 Eivindvik

Telephone
Email

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Key Attractions
  • Religion and Belief
  • Sagas
  • Viking Trails
  • Modern Art
  • Reconstructions
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