At 643 metres above
sea level, Ulriken is the highest of the ‘classic’ seven mountains surrounding
the city of Bergen.
The name probably derives from the Norse Alrek,
which means ‘towering’. The sides of the mountain
are steep, but from the summit there is excellent walking terrain to the north,
south and east. From the top, the view of the city and the surrounding
areas is astounding.
In his ‘Song to Bergen’ the poet Nordahl Brun
portrayed the city from the top of Ulriken, although there is uncertainty over
whether he was ever there.
The first walk to Ulriken was made in 1853 and
included, among others, theatre director Henrik Ibsen, who wrote “Vi vandrer
med freidig mot” for the occasion.
When the pioneer athlete and shopkeeper Johan
N.L. Blytt skied across Ulriken in 1896, it was mentioned in the newspaper. From the end of the 19th century, sports clubs and individuals built
several cabins on the gentler slopes to the southwest and flatter areas of the
The first ski-jumping contest was held here in
1896 and the first Bergen ski race was held at Gimlebakken on the western
slopes of Vasslifjellet in 1908. The first national ski and jump combination
race in 1909. ’Ulriken downhill’ was held for the first time in 1963. The
public march ”Ulriken over” was also held for the first time that year with
4,000 participants; in 1967 there were 19,000 participants.
In 1959 a telecommunications tower was built at the top of Ulriken.
Many people feared that the tower would spoil the
mountain’s profile. The construction work proved to be problematic,
especially the transport of materials. The station was
built out of sight of the mountain’s profile from the city and was opened in
The 40-metre concrete tower is three metres in diameter at the bottom and two
metres at the top.
A 38-metre high metal pipe is mounted on the top. The mountain’s profile was spoiled when an aerial
cableway, Ulriksbanen, was built by a Swiss company in 1961.
From the lower
station at Haukelandsbakken to the top at 607m, the cableway has a total length
of 1,120 m. Two cable cars run on the cableway, each with room for 25
passengers, and the trip takes 3 minutes.