The cultural environment around Utstein Abbey in Rogaland was protected in 1999. The central feature of the area is the abbey itself, which is the best-preserved medieval abbey in Norway. During its history, Utstein has been the seat of a Viking chieftain, a king’s manor, an abbey and a private residence.
Photo: Kjell Andresen, the Directorate for Cultural Heritage.
Protection order adopted by the King in Council on 17 December 1999
The area shows traces of human occupation and agriculture from the Stone Age to the present day. The characteristic landscape, formed by traditional agricultural techniques over many generations, is one important reason for the decision to protect the area. The protection order applies to properties that are still run as farms today. It covers about 250 hectares of the islands Klosterøy and Fjøløy, and surrounding areas of the fjord, including the bay where the abbey is situated.
The open landscape with its long history of use, and its relationship with the restored abbey buildings and the surrounding broad-leaved trees, make this a very distinctive cultural environment which is unique in Norway.