ÅlesundThe city Ålesund (or Aalesund) in the county of Møre og Romsdal, Norway, has 39,373 inhabitants as of January 1, 2002.
It occupies three of the outer islands of the west coast, Hessa, Aspøy and Nørvøy, which enclose the picturesque harbour. Founded in 1824, it is the principal shipping-place of Sunnmøre district, and one of the chief stations of the herring fishery.
Ålesund is adjacent to the Jorund and Geiranger fjords, frequented by tourists. From Oje at the head of Jorund a road strikes south to the Nordfjord, and from Merck on Geiranger another strikes inland to Otta, on the railway to Lillehammer and Oslo. Ålesund is a port of call for passenger and freight vessels travelling between Bergen, Kingston upon Hull, Newcastle, Hamburg, and Trondheim, including the daily Hurtigrute (Norwegian Coastal Express boats).
On January 23, 1904, Ålesund was the scene of one of the most terrible of the many conflagrations to which Norwegian towns, once built largely of wood, have been subject. Practically the whole town was destroyed, a gale aiding the flames, and the population had to leave the place in the night at the notice of a few minutes.
Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany had often vacationed in Ålesund. After the fire, the Kaiser imported several thousand German artisans including 50 architects who rebuilt the city in the Art nouveau architectural style (called Jugendstil in German) with turrets, spires, and ornamentation in many places. The style was at its peak in 1904 and today the visitor can still have the unique experience of being surrounded by more than 400 stylish homes and buildings nearly a century old.
Ålesund is the site of an annual Norwegian food festival.
The local newspaper is named Sunnmørsposten.