Vestervågen, Vardø
In earlier times, the sea route was the main traffic artery along the coast of Northern Norway. It was an altogether different experience to arrive at a place from the seaway, as opposed to via land. Typically the residences were situated facing the sea, and the wharf-side warehouses marked the business premises. The warehouses were primarily associated with fishing, production and business. In the fishing town of Vardø, the wharf-side warehouses were situated along both sides of the bay, as a link from ship to overland transport. In addition they served as a production milieu.

The town centre was severely damaged by aeroplane bombing during World War II. However, the town still has several preserved buildings that were built before the war. Innermost in the bay Vestervågen, one finds the Brodtkorb wharf-side warehouses. These four warehouses, which are from the period 1840-1900, are among Finnmark's oldest preserved fishery buildings. In addition, it is the only warehouse milieu that documents the livelihood of the Pomors. These structures were designated as listed buildings after the Cultural Heritage Act was passed in 1990 to preserve cultural monuments. This group of listed buildings includes the four wharf-side warehouses 'Lillesjåen', 'Storsjåen', 'Tranbua', and 'Saltbua'. Today the warehouses are owned by the Varanger Museum. Each warehouse is constructed of solid Russian logs and panelled with wide planks made of Siberian larch.

The largest warehouse, 'Storsjåen', is situated wall to wall with the other structures, but is slightly misaligned in toward land. It was erected at the end of the 19th century. It is situated with the long side facing the sea and has a cogging jointed section toward the north. The remaining parts are constructed of a half-timbered framework that has immense dimensions. This large warehouse was used by the trading firm Brodtkorb to store stockfish. Originally there was a quay in front of the warehouse. Goods were transported to or from the large boats, loaded into prams (flat-bottomed boats) and brought to the quay, where they were either unloaded or loaded while they stood on the foreshore. Today's quay is a reconstruction of the original.

Year of construction

1840 - 1890

Building Type

wharf-side warehouses

Construction System / Materials

Cogging joint method
half-timbered framework


cog joint construction
timber uprights


Balsvik, Randi Rønning: Vardø. Grensepost og fiskevær, bind I, Vardø 1989

Bottolfsen, Charlanka: "Fra et Nord-norsk fiskevær", By og bygd, bind 21, 1969, pp. 35-39

Ytreberg, Nils A.: Handelssteder i Finnmark, Trondheim (1942) 1980

Petterson, Arvid: Hus i Finnmark, Fortidsminneforeningen Finnmark avdeling, Vadsø 2005

Saariniemi, Pirjo "Brodtkorbsjåene i Vardø", Fortidsvern no 3, 1993