The old town of Fredrikstad was founded in 1567 after the previous settlement of Borg had been burned to the ground by Swedish forces during the Northern Seven Years' War. The new location was chosen to make it easier to defend it, though the Swedes succeeded in burning down the fledgling town in the 1570s. The construction of the fortifications, including a moat and ramparts, began in the 1660s. The fortified town began to lose influence to new settlements on the opposite side of the river already in the 18th century, and the city administration and cathedral was finally moved at the end of the following century. Apart from some military buildings, The oldest houses are from after the fire of 1764 while several parts of town were also rebuilt after a fire in 1830. Some minor fires and rebuilding later in the century also added some later housing stock, though the town otherwise became frozen in time.
Litteraturhuset was completed in 2013 to a design by architect Griff Arkitektur. The building houses a bookshop, book café and an institute of journalism. On the right can be seen a commercial building from 1903-04, originally built for Fredrikstad og Omegn sparebank, by architect Gustav Lorentz Gulbrandsen.