Category:Old roads of Norway
The Old roads of Norway provides a historical context for important trade and military routes.
The term vei in the 1500s does not mean road in the modern sense; the meaning was quite different in 16th century Norway than it is now. Then the farmers were required to maintain the road over that portion of land which they owned. The property owners by law must maintain the roadway eight (8) alen wide (the alen is an archaic unit of Norwegian measure equal to 0.6275 meters so an 8 alen road was approximately 5 meters wide (~16 feet)). But this only required that the landowner cut the woods back to provide a way 5 meters wide; the road was still only a rough path—in the mountainous regions often extremely rough. The sense of this road can be understood best when one realizes that the first road outside of a city over which a wagon or carriage could travel was built in 1624 from Hokksund to Kongsberg to provide access to cart heavy machinery up to the workings at the mines there.
Important 16th century routes in Norway include:
- From Østlandet up through Gudbrandsdalen to Dovre, where a branch went down to Romsdalsfjord over Bjørnekleiva, but the main way continued north over the mountains to Trøndelag.
- From Lom a route went through Bøverdal to Sogn and alternately through Billingsdal to Nordfjord and Sunnmøre.
- A road also went from Hedmark through the Østerdal to Trondeleg, but it was less well known than the way through Gudbrandsdalen.
- From the tracks around Oslo important ways went to Vestland through Valdres and Hallingdal and down Røldal to Odda.
- Especially important from a military standpoint was the route which went south over on the east side of Oslofjord and down into Båhus county.
- From Østlandet several roads/trails passed into Sweden. The most important were probably those that which went over the border at Grue, Eidskog, Elverum, Øvre Rendalen & Ytre Rendalen.
- From Tynset there was a good route into Herjedalen which belonged as a part of Hamar bishopric and further east through Hälsingland.
- North of the mountains an important road went up through Verdalen to Jemtland and from there continued further into Sweden.