Medieval churches in Norway

Hurum Church

Hurum Church dates from c. 1150. The pulpit was a gift from the wife of naval hero, Ivar Huitfeldt. This is the location of the family Huitfeldt tomb which dates from 1750. Several coins from the 13th century were found from the church during the archaeological excavation in 1972.
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Klokkarstua, Norway

Stødle Church

Stødle Church was built originally in 1160 and restored in 1650, 1879 and 1958. It was the private chapel of Erling Skakke (1115–1179), who was a famous Norwegian Earl. The church bells date from the Middle Ages.
Founded: 1160 | Location: Etne, Norway

Høyjord Stave Church

Høyjord stave church was built in the end of the 11th century. The church was later removed once and rebuilt. Last reconstruction was completed in 1950. The church is also the only stave church which is left in the county of Vestfold.The church is one of two preserved churches having a pillar or post in the middle. In addition tho this central post there are 12 staves, all of which supports the building. Each stave ...
Founded: c. 1190 | Location: Andebu, Norway

Løvøya Chapel

Løvøya chapel was built at some time between 1223-1398. The chapel was dedicated to St. Halvard and St. Martin. Its form is known from Orkney and Man islands with a nave and chancel built together. Also the circular light openings in gable walls are typical to this church architecture. After the Reformation in 1536 Løvøya chapel was left to decay for centuries. In 1882 the ruins were restored a ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Horten, Norway

Moster Old Church

According to the Icelandic recorder of sagas, Snorre, Olav Trygvason docked at Moster in 995 following his voyage across the North Sea from England, in order to become king of Norway. Here he celebrated mass and founded a Church, and Saint Olav and his bishops held Ting (court) here in the year 1024. Moster Church is thought to be the Norwegian village Church with the longest antiquarian history. In 1874 the Society of Hi ...
Founded: c. 1024 | Location: Mosterhamn, Norway

Hedenstad Church

Hedenstad Church was built in the 12th century and restored in 1889. The tower dates from 1782. Between 1723-1856 it was privately owned. The interior dates mainly from the 1800s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Skollenborg, Norway

Rødven Stave Church

According to a notice board outside the church, the nave and south porch of the Rødven Stave Church date from the 14th century, the crucifix dates from the 13th century and the pulpit from 1712. Inside are an ornately carved crucifix and pulpit. The church is a Møre-type stave church due to its structure and the exterior support posts that brace the walls. During an archeological survey in 1962-1963, marks w ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Eidsbygda, Norway

Rokoberget Church Ruins

The church ruin at Rokoberget is the remains of a church dedicated to the archangel St. Michael. The church was built of stone and was sited at the top of the Rokoberget hill. St. Michael"s church was first mentioned in a papal letter of 1254 and has been a wayside church, but historians disagree about whether the passers-by were pilgrims or Swedes on their way to the market at Hamar. The ruins, which are accessible ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Løten, Norway

Kapitelberget Church Ruins

Kapitelberget ruined church is the foremost reminder of the powerful Dags family in Skien. It was a crypt church, one of the only four similar churches in Norway. Kapitelberget was built as a private chapel by Dag Eilivsson in the 12th century. It may have been destroyed when Bratsberg farm burned in 1156. The church was situated on the highest point in the vicinity of Skien at the top of the range of hills to the east o ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Skien, Norway

St. Jetmund Church

Saint Jetmund Church was built in 1150 and torn down in 1864 when it was replaced by the newly built Vanylven Church in nearby Slagnes. The stone was reused around the area in other buildings. In 1957, it was decided to rebuild the old church on its old foundations using the old plans of the church. Many of the original stones were reclaimed and reused in the new church. The new church is now a museum. The church was nam ...
Founded: 1150 | Location: Vanylven, Norway

Hegge Stave Church

The first recorded reference to the Hegge stave church is from 1327. Dendrochronological dating of some of the logs in the church, however, indicates that the church was built around 1216. It is a basilica type church with 8 free-standing interior columns forming an arcade, surrounding a central area with a raised roof. A runic inscription on the church reads: Erling Arnson wrote these runes. The lower story of the bell ...
Founded: c. 1216 | Location: Øystre Slidr, Norway

Dybvåg Church

Dypvåg Church dates from the early 1200s. The choir was demolished and reconstructed in the 1700s and the major restoration took place in 1921. The interior is rich and well-preserved. The font is original from c. 1200.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Tvedestrand, Norway

Fiskum Old Church

Fiskum Old Church was built in c. 1250 and it was dedicated to St. Olaf. The sacristy was added in the 1700s and the church restored in the 1800s. The pulpit dates from 1650, altar and font from the 1700s.
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Darbu, Norway

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Königstein Fortress

Königstein Fortress is located on the left bank of the River Elbe. It is one of the largest hilltop fortifications in Europe. The 9.5 hectare rock plateau rises 240 metres above the Elbe and has over 50 buildings, some over 400 years old, that bear witness to the military and civilian life in the fortress. The rampart run of the fortress is 1,800 metres long with walls up to 42 metres high and steep sandstone faces. In the centre of the site is a 152.5 metre deep well, which is the deepest in Saxony and second deepest well in Europe.

The fortress, which for centuries was used as a state prison, is still intact and is now one of Saxony's foremost tourist attractions, with 700,000 visitors per year.

By far the oldest written record of a castle on the Königstein is found in a deed by King Wenceslas I of Bohemia dating to the year 1233. It is probable that there had been a stone castle on the Königstein as early as the 12th century. The oldest surviving structure today is the castle chapel built at the turn of the 13th century. In the years 1563 to 1569 the 152.5 metre deep well was bored into the rock within the castle - until that point the garrison of the Königstein had to obtain water from cisterns and by collecting rainwater.

Between 1589 and 1591/97 Prince-Elector Christian I of Saxony and his successor had the castle developed into the strongest fortification in Saxony. The hill was now surrounded with high walls. Buildings were erected, including the Gatehouse (Torhaus), the Streichwehr, the Old Barracks (Alte Kaserne), the Christiansburg (Friedrichsburg) and the Old Armoury (Altes Zeughaus). The second construction period followed from 1619 to 1681, during which the John George Bastion was built. The third construction period is seen as the time from 1694 to 1756, which included the expansion of the Old Barracks. From 1722 to 1725, at the behest of August the Strong, coopers under Böttger built the enormous Königstein Wine Barrel, the greatest wine barrel in the world, in the cellar of the Magdalenenburg which had a capacity of 249,838 litres. It cost 8,230 thalers, 18 groschen and 9 pfennigs. The butt, which was once completely filled with country wine from the Meißen vineyards, had to be removed again in 1818 due to its poor condition. Because of Böttger, Königstein Fortress is also the site where European porcelain started.

Even after the expansion during those periods of time there continued to be modifications and additions on the extensive plateau. The Treasury (Schatzhaus) was built from 1854 to 1855. After the fortress had been incorporated in 1871 into the fortification system of the new German Empire, battery ramparts were constructed from 1870 to 1895 with eight firing points, that were to have provided all-round defence for the fortress in case of an attack that, in the event, never came. This was at this time that the last major building work was done on the fortress.

Because Königstein Fortress was regarded as unconquerable, the Saxon monarchs retreated to it from Wittenberg and later Dresden during times of crisis and also deposited the state treasure and many works of art from the famous Zwinger here; it was also used as a country retreat due to its lovely surroundings.

The fortress played an important role in the History of Saxony, albeit less as a result of military action. The Saxon Dukes and Prince-Electors used the fortress primarily as a secure refuge during times of war, as a hunting lodge and maison de plaisance, but also as a dreaded state prison. Its actual military significance was rather marginal.

Since 1955 the fortress has been an open-air, military history museum of high touristic value.