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The coast of Nordland is topographically and biologically varied with islands with precipitous birdcliffs fringed by a narrow strandflat, sand dunes and bouldery beaches. North of the Polar Circle the Lofoten islands stretches about 250 km S-SW, from the fjord of Ofoten to the outer Roest islands. The line of islands builds a up to 1100 m high wall of mountains and cliffs on the north side of the Vestfjord.
Geologically the area belongs to the Lofoten Eruptive Province and consists chiefly of Precambrian rocks. Rocky shores are the principal type of shore in this region. The Moskenes stream between the outer Lofoten islands is a powerful and dangerous maelstrom. Since pre-viking time the Lofoten islands have been and still are the centre for the Norwegian cod-fisheries. The export to Europe over Bergen was established early in the Middle Age. The region has unique qualities associated with its marine resources, geology, plant and animal life, cultural monuments and exiting scenary. The birdcliffs on Røst and Værøy are among the largest in the Nordic countries and have earned an international reputation. The area was settled very early, contains many unique cultural monuments.