Ålesund is a town and municipality in Møreog Romsdal county, Norway. It is part of the traditional district of Sunnmøre, and the center of the Ålesund Region. It is a sea port, and is noted for its unique concentration of Art Nouveau architecture.
Ålesund town is the administrative centre of the municipality as well as the principal shipping town of the Sunnmøre district. Ålesund municipality has a population of 42,982 as of 2010, while the greater Ålesund area has a population of 47,772 (this also includes most of neighboring Sula as well).
The port of Ålesund was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 and it received town rights in 1848. On 1 January 1875, part of Borgund (population: 902) was transferred to the town of Ålesund. In 1922, another part of Borgund (population: 1,148) was transferred to the town of Ålesund. On 1 January 1968, most of the neighboring municipality of Borgund was merged into Ålesund.
A part of the town was originally known as Kaupangen Borgund. The Old Norse word kaupang means “marketplace” or “town”, thus the market town for Borgund. The Old Norse form of the current name was Álasund. The first element of that (probably) is the plural genitive case of áll which means “eel” and the last element is sund which means “strait” or “sound”.Before 1921, the name was written Aalesund.