|Waters||European Arctic Ocean|
Bjarkøya lies between the Vågsfjord in the east and the Andfjord in the west, north of Grytøya and northwest of Sandsøya . The island is separated from Grytøya by the 1.3 km wide Kvernsund at its narrowest point near Austnes and from Sandsøya by the approximately 1.5 km wide Sandsøysund. In the north, beyond the only 120 m wide Sundsvollsund, lies the small island of Helløya, and in the archipelago to the north the small inhabited islands Flatøya, Krøttøya and Meløyvær join.
The 14.6 km² island is about 5.7 km long from east to west and about 5 km wide from north to south. In contrast to its southern neighbor Grytøya, Bjarkøya is not too mountainous; the highest point is the Falkeberg at 248 m.
Bjarkøya is part of Harstad Municipality . Until January 1, 2013, the island formed the core of what was then Bjarkøy , which was then incorporated into Harstad. The administrative seat was Nergården on Bjarkoya.
Settlements and Transport
Above all along the east and north coast and in the elongated valley that separates the comparatively low eastern part of the island from the more mountainous main part in the north-west, there are scattered settlements, with a concentration in the Bjarkøy – Nergården – Øvergården area. The church in Bjarkøy with its 350 seats was originally built on Sandsøya in 1765/66, but moved to Bjarkøya in 1888; only some parts of the interior were later brought back to Nordsand on Sandsøya and are now in the successor building built there in 1888.
The settlements are connected by four roads from Bjarkøy / Nergården, one of which leads to Austnes in the south, where the car ferries to Grytøya and Sandsøya dock.
So far, the island can only be reached by ship: a car ferry goes from Austnes over the Kvernsund to Vikran on Sandsøysund in the northeast of Grytøya, and from Bjørnå in the south of Grytøya another ferry goes to Stornes on Hinnøya and thus to Harstad. There is also a car ferry connection from Austnes via Kvernsund and through Sandsøysund to Altevik on Sandsøya.
In order to improve the transport links between the three islands, the construction of a 3250 m long submarine tunnel between Grytøya and Bjarkøya and a bridge-and-dam connection from Grytøya to Sandsøya (900 m dam , 300 m main bridge and three low side bridges of 46, 66 and 66 m in length).
Bjarkøya was an important trading center in Hålogaland, today's Helgeland , in the Viking Age and as such goes back to the time of the Great Migration . At Øvergården, south of Nergården, a large bronze cauldron, the so-called Bjarkøy cauldron, was found in a swamp from around AD 400, and a number of finds from around AD 600 to 700 were concentrated around Bjarkøya. Bjarkøy court also testifies to the former importance of the place.
- fv. 867 / Fv. 125 Bjarkøyforbindelsene (Norwegian)
- Tore Hund, in Norsk Biografisk Leksikon