In 1904 a great fire destroyed most of the town. Most of the houses in Ålesund had been built of wood. Due to strong winds, the fire spread very quickly. Many people lost their homes but only one person died in the fire. The German Emperor Wilhelm was very fond of Norway and often spent vacations there. He helped to rebuild Ålesund after fire. Art Nouveau was a very popular art style at that time, and most new buildings in Ålesund were built in that style. Nowadays this Norwegian town boasts uniquely consistent architecture in the central area, as most buildings there were built shortly after the great fire. There is an Art Nouveau Center in the downtown, called Jugendstilsenteret (Jugendstil is the Norwegian and German term for Art Nouveau).
As aesthetically pleasing as Art Nouveau may be (especially compared to some newer architecture), it is not the only reason why a photographer might want to visit Ålesund. The surrounding area is extremely picturesque with its fjords, mountains and coastal scenery. Every photographer visiting this part of Norway should at least once visit Mt. Aksla. The view from there is spectacular. How often can you get a picturesque town, sea and mountains in one frame?
Getting to Ålesund is easy. The nearby airport in Vigra handles relatively frequent flights to Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim. Other destinations include Stavanger, Amsterdam, Gdańsk and Kaunas. Ålesund is also a port of call for cruise vessels, including the famous Hurtigruten.