Altafjord is a fjord in the municipality Alta
Alta, Norway
-Birdlife:For those interested in bird watching, the river outlet, known locally as Altaosen is well worth a visit. This tidal area is used as a stopover for many wetland species.-Transportation:...

 in Finnmark
or Finnmárku is a county in the extreme northeast of Norway. By land it borders Troms county to the west, Finland to the south and Russia to the east, and by water, the Norwegian Sea to the northwest, and the Barents Sea to the north and northeast.The county was formerly known as Finmarkens...

 county, Norway, and is about 38 kilometres long. In the inner southern part of the fjord, near the town of Alta, is the outlet of the 200 kilometre long river Altaelva
The river Altaelva has carved out Sautso, one of the largest canyons in Europe on its way from the High Plateau of Finnmarksvidda down to the Altafjord. It lies in the municipality of Alta in Finnmark county, Norway...

. At the outer part of the fjord are the islands Stjernøya
Stjernøya is an island in Finnmark county, Norway. It is a part of the municipalities of Loppa, Hasvik and Alta. Its area is 231 km². The highest peak is Kjerringa at 960 m....

 and Seiland
Seiland is an island in the southwest of Hammerfest in Finnmark county. The island is divided between the municipalities of Hammerfest, Alta and Kvalsund and has an area of...

It was historically known as "Altenfjord", and was referred to as such by British historians throughout most of the 20th century.

Prehistoric culture

A large number of prehistoric rock carvings
Rock carvings at Alta
The Rock art of Alta are located in and around the municipality of Alta in the county of Finnmark in northern Norway. Since the first carvings were discovered in 1972, more than 6000 carvings have been found on several sites around Alta...

 have been found along the fjord, particularly at the bay Jiepmaluokta
Jiepmaluokta or Hjemmeluft is a bay in the municipality of Alta in Norway. It is the main site for the rock carvings at Alta with about 3000 individual carvings ....

. The locations at Kåfjord
Kåfjord, Alta
Kåfjord is a fjord in northern Norway, an arm of the Altafjord, in the county of Finnmark, and a village located on the fjord. The village is in the municipality of Alta, 18 km west of the town of Alta on the European route E6....

, Jiepmaluokta and Amtmannsnes are assigned a UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

. The petroglyphs are dated from 4,200 BC
5th millennium BC
The 5th millennium BC saw the spread of agriculture from the Near East throughout southern and central Europe.Urban cultures in Mesopotamia and Anatolia flourished, developing the wheel. Copper ornaments became more common, marking the Chalcolithic. Animal husbandry spread throughout Eurasia,...

 to 500 BC
1st millennium BC
The 1st millennium BC encompasses the Iron Age and sees the rise of many successive empires, and spanned from 1000 BC to 1 BC.The Neo-Assyrian Empire, followed by the Achaemenids. In Greece, Classical Antiquity begins with the colonization of Magna Graecia and peaks with the rise of Hellenism. The...

, based on old shorelines and nearby prehistoric settlements.

World War II

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 the side branch Kåfjord
Kåfjord, Alta
Kåfjord is a fjord in northern Norway, an arm of the Altafjord, in the county of Finnmark, and a village located on the fjord. The village is in the municipality of Alta, 18 km west of the town of Alta on the European route E6....

 hosted a German
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 naval base. The German battleship Tirpitz
German battleship Tirpitz
Tirpitz was the second of two s built for the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. Named after Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, the architect of the Imperial Navy, the ship was laid down at the Kriegsmarinewerft in Wilhelmshaven in November 1936 and launched two and a half years later in April...

, based at Kåfjord, was subject to attacks by British X class
X class submarine
The X class was a World War II midget submarine class built for the Royal Navy during 1943–44.Known individually as X-Craft, the vessels were designed to be towed to their intended area of operations by a full-size 'mother' submarine - - with a passage crew on board, the operational crew...

 midget submarine
Midget submarine
A midget submarine is any submarine under 150 tons, typically operated by a crew of one or two but sometimes up to 6 or 8, with little or no on-board living accommodation...

s in September 1943 (Operation Source
Operation Source
Operation Source was a series of attacks to neutralise the heavy German warships – Tirpitz, Scharnhorst and Lutzow – based in northern Norway, using X-class midget submarines....

), and to air strikes in April (Operation Tungsten
Operation Tungsten
Operation Tungsten was a British naval operation during World War II. it was one of a number of aerial attacks on the German battleship Tirpitz while she was in Norwegian waters...

) and September 1944 (Operation Paravane
Operation Paravane
Operation Paravane was the attack carried out by RAF Bomber Command on September 15, 1944 against the German battleship Tirpitz at harbour in the far north of Norway. The Tirpitz was a major threat to the convoys supplying the Soviet Union. Flying via a Soviet airfield, two squadrons attacked...

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