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Ålesund : the town is young at heart, but has an unusually dramatic story to tell. The stormful winter night of January the 23rd 1904, a devastating fire raged through the streets of Ålesund. During 16 hours, the whole centre of the town - 850 houses - burned to the ground and left 10.000 people homeless.

After the fire, only 230 houses were remaining in Ålesund. After a remarkable effort from the local population, travellers from near and far and other contributors, the town was rebuilt already in 1907. A new town rose phoenix-like from the ashes - in the distinctive Art Nouveau style. The architects who designed the houses were young Norwegians, influenced by both national romantic ideas as well as that time period's popular architectural style; the Jugendstil or in English Art Nouveau.

The buildings are decorated with towers, turrets and imaginative and colourful ornaments. Taking a walk, look at all parts of the buildings - that's when you will notice all the small details which make these houses so beautiful. Today, Ålesund is renowned both nationally and internationally for its architecture, and is a member of "Rèseau Art Nouveau Network", a European network of Art Nouveau cities, including among others Glasgow, Barcelona and Vienna.

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