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Sverd i fjell (English: Swords in Rock) is a commemorative monument located in the Hafrsfjord neighborhood of Madla, a borough of the city of Stavanger in Rogaland county, Norway. They commemorate the historic Battle of Hafrsfjord that took place there in the year 872, after which King Harald Fair Hair united the three districts of Norway into one kingdom. Harald Fairhair reigned from c. 872 to 930 and is today recognized as the first King of Norway.

These 10 meters (33 ft) tall bronze swords, planted into the rock of a small hill next to the fjord, were created by sculptor Fritz Røed from Bryne. The monument was unveiled by king Olav V of Norway in 1983 and has stood proudly ever since.

The Battle of Hafrsfjord is described in the Saga of Harald Fairhair in Snorri’s Heimskringla, and according to Snorri’s saga, King Harald controlled large parts of Norway’s southeast portion before the battle. He defeated several kings and the battle is considered decisive in the unification of Western Norway.

The accounts of Harald and his life differ on many points, and the lack of existing sources makes it very difficult to reconstruct his life. Some critical aspects of his life may be uncertain but it is clear that in the 12th and 13th centuries Harald was regarded as having unified Norway into one kingdom.

The largest sword represents the victorious Harald, and the two smaller swords represent the defeated kings. The crowns on the swords represent the different districts which took part in the battle. Today, the swords stand for peace and unification and they are planted into solid rock, so they may never be removed.

Article byElisa Webb