A Kongsgård estate is a residence, estate, or farmland that has belonged or still belongs to the Scandinavian monarchs and royal families.
During the Viking age and early middle ages, the young nations of Scandinavia were organized as frail political unions, a system which often led to conflicts and internal turmoil. To remain in control, the Scandinavian kings would frequently travel throughout their kingdoms to keep oversight. The Kongsgård estates would then function as temporary residencies for the kings and would otherwise be occupied by noblemen or other vassals.
Over time, the kings were able to unify their countries and consolidate their power, ruling instead from a single seat or capital. The Kongsgård estate tradition was thus slowly abandoned, with the kings of Norway, Sweden and Denmark starting to favor fortified stone castles and keeps.
The first King of Norway, King Harald Fairhair, ordered his earls and their hersir to construct estates and farms along the Norwegian coast that would belong to the king and the hird. King Harald himself would establish the significant Kongsgård estate Alrekstad in Bergen which functioned as his seat of power. Similar estates were also later build in Oslo, Stavanger and Trondheim.
In the middle ages, the Norwegian kings turned away from traditional wooden estate house and instead build stone castles. King Eystein I of Norway would for instance relocated the Alrekstad estate in Bergen, building a new fortified palace where Bergenhus fortress is presently located.
Other Kongsgård estates includes: