Medieval churches in Norway

Ogna Church

Ogna Church dates back to the mid-1200s. Originally a rectangular, long church with a nave and chancel of same widths. The oldest section has four corners made of steatite, a lavishly ornamented west portal, a Christening font and Communion table all made of steatite. On 13 November 1991 the church burned down and rebuilt and consecrated again on 5 June 1995.
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Ogna, Norway

Nes Church

Nes Church dates from c. 1180. The stone church has still some remnants of reliefs from the Middle ages. Near the church is an old farm which, according a legend, belonged to the 'King of Grenland' (Grenland is a traditional district in the county of Telemark).
Founded: c. 1180 | Location: Sauherad, Norway

Kodal Church

Kodal Church chancel dates from the 12th century. The nave from 1691 is made of round timbers. The altarpiece dates from 1781 and the painting 'Jesus and the disciples on the walk to Emmaus' by Otto Valstad in the style of Dorph from 1899.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Kodal, Norway

Botne Church

Botne church was built originally in the 13th century and is dedicated to St. Nicholas. It was expanded in 1865 and restored in 1947. The Renaissance and Baroque style altarpiece dates from 1664.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Holmestrand, Norway

Hem Church

Hem Church is a Romanesque stone church with a rectangular nave and choir. It was built in 1392.
Founded: 1392 | Location: Svarstad, Norway

Styrvoll Church

Styrvoll church was probably built between 1150 and 1200. The wooden porch and spire were added in 1870.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Lardal, Norway

Skjee Church

Skjee Church was built between 1190-1200. It has a Christ picture from 1692 and Renaissance style pulpit.
Founded: 1190-1200 | Location: Stokke, Norway

Eidsberg Church

Eidsberg church, also called as Østfold Cathedral, was built in the late 1200s, but burned in 1440. The church was rebuilt, and in 1880-81 it was extended and restored to its present appearance. The wall is derived in part from the old medieval church. Findings suggest an early church about the year 1000, followed by a Romanesque church in 1100-tallet. Alteret the current church is from 1651, the pulpit from 1662. ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Eidsberg, Norway

Rokke Church

Rokke church is a Romanesque stone church built in the 12th century. It was restored and rebuilt in 1886. Several remains of burials under the church floor were found then. Lars Ovesen made the church pulpit and altarpiece in 1685. Rokke church has one Olav Statue from the 1300s and three figures of saints.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Halden, Norway

Rødenes Church

Rødenes church was built in c. 1230 and it underwent an extensive restoration in 1703-1709. It was privately owned from 1729-1849 before moved to the municipality. Altarpiece dates from the 1720s and was given by Chr. Hansen Sarpsborg, who was commander of Basmo fortress.
Founded: c. 1230 | Location: Ørje, Norway

Råde Church

It is supposed that Råde Church with its mighty tower was built around the year 1200. In old documents the church is first mentioned in 1330. It was damaged by lightning in the 16th century. The present altarpiece dates from 1638. In 1723 the church was sold to the owner of Tomb manor house, general Lützow. For 130 years to come the church belonged to different owners of Tomb, who got all its income and kept t ...
Founded: 1185-1200 | Location: Råde, Norway

Ingedal Church

Ingedal church was built in c. 1250 and it was restored to the 18th century style in 1968.
Founded: 1250 | Location: Skjeberg, Norway

Våler Church

Våler church was built between 1150 and 1200. The restorations were made in 1714, 1867 and 1961-63. One of the church bells is probably cast before 1160 while the other dates from 1799. Other treasures include a crucifix from the mid-1200s (from Limoges in France) and organs from ca. 1781 (built by Niels Samuelsen Dæli). The altarpiece and pulpit were a gift from cicar Peder Hansøn Prydz and his wife Ka ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Våler i Østfold, Norway

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.