Medieval churches in Norway

Nes Church

Nes Church was built in c. 1250 in English Gothic style. It has been restored in the 1700s and 1964.
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Nes På Hedmark, Norway

Borgund Stave Church

Borgund Stave Church is the best preserved of Norway"s 28 extant stave churches. It was built sometime between 1180 and 1250 AD with later additions and restorations. Its walls are formed by vertical wooden boards, or staves, hence the name 'stave church'. The four corner posts were connected to one another by ground sills, resting on a stone foundation. The rest of the staves then rise from the ground sill ...
Founded: 1180-1250 | Location: Borgund, Norway

Our Lady's Church

Our Lady"s Church (Vår Frue kirke) was erected around the year 1200. The victim of many fires, it was restored in 1739, but parts of the thick, solid walls of the Church are obviously much older. The first tower of the church was built around 1640, but the current tower was built in 1742 and the spire was erected in 1779. However, the eastern part of church (to the right in the picture) is identical to the &apo ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Trondheim, Norway

Ramnes Church

Ramnes church dates from the 1100s. The heavy stone walls are original except the northwest corner. The tower was erected in the early 1600s. The font was made in the early 1200s, altarpiece and pulpit with carved panels date from the 1600s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ramnes, Norway

Rygge Church

Rygge church is a medieval stone church built in the 12th century. The church is one of Østfold"s largest, richest adorned and best preserved medieval church in the region.
Founded: c. 1170 | Location: Rygge, Norway

Mo Church Ruins

Mo church ruin probably date back to around 1215, and this may well be Norway`s smallest free-standing stone church from medieval times. It is believed that it was originally a privately owned church. However, Mo parish is mentioned in both 1368 and 1400. The oldest coins found are form King Sverre`s reign 1177-1202, and the most recent ones are from reign of King Hans who died in 1513. These indicate the period during w ...
Founded: 1215 | Location: Slidre, Norway

Fana Church

Fana Church history is long and complicated. Historians assert that the church has been rebuilt and enlarged several times. Fana Church was mentioned in writings for the first time in 1228, when Pope Gregory IX released a conscription to the vicar and brothers at 'the holy cross church and hospital in Fana'. Parts of the existing church building are from the Romanesque age, and the walls show signs of there havi ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Fana, 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

Seljord Church

Seljord church was built between 1150-1180 in early Romanesque style. It is dedicated to St. Olav and restored in 1971. The church has fine items, including the oldest altarpiece made after the Reformation. It is probably painted in Germany in 1588. The font is from the 1600s as well as mural paintings.
Founded: 1150-1180 | Location: Seljord, Norway

Old Aker Church

Old Aker Church (Gamle Aker kirke) is Oslo"s oldest remaining building and the only remaining church from the Middle Ages. It is assumed that it was built around the year 1150. It is a stone church, built as a three-naved Roman-style basilica. The church has been pillaged and ravaged by fire several times. The oldest part of the surrounding churchyard dates back to the 12th century. The church has a baroque pulpit a ...
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Ænes Church

Ænes stone church was probably built between 1190-1220. The tower was erected in 1869. The pulpit dates from 1630 and altarpiece from 1766.
Founded: 1190-1220 | Location: Ænes, Norway

St. Margaret's Church

St. Margaret"s Church was a stone church built in the 13th century. It is now a ruin, but the ruin underwent a restoration in 1934, and is today the best preserved medieval buildings next to the Old Aker Church. The church is named after Margaret of Antioch.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Oslo, Norway

Enebakk Church

Enebakk Church was built in 1104 and the first tower was erected in c. 1200. The current appearance dates mainly from the 1500s and the tower was also re-erected in 1551. It is the oldest wooden tower in a stone church in Norway. The font is made of soapstone in the Middle Ages. The altarpiece dates from 1608 and pulpit from 1667.
Founded: 1104 | Location: Enebakk, Norway

Nykirke

Nykirke ('new church') was built around 1200. It was restored in 1880, 1848 and 1953.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Nykirke, Norway

Berg Stone Church

Berg old church was built around the year 1100. The church is built Anglo-Saxon style, with an oval nave and a smaller four-sided choir in Romanesque style. The original church was torn down in 1882, and rebuilt in 1970.The oldest object in the church is a runestone from the 12th century laid inside the church walls and a grave stone from the same period with a primitively carved crucifix. The pulpit dates from 1592.
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Larvik, Norway

Hole Church

Hole church dates from the 13th century. The original stone church was largely destroyed by fire in 1736. The church was rebuilt in 1737. Repairs, restorations and remodeling occurred during 1827 and 1909.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hole, Norway

Stange Church

The current Stange Church dates from c. 1250. It was enlarged and the sacristy added in 1703. The interior was renewed mainly in the 1600s after the church was badly damaged by fire in 1620. The pulpit dates from 1630 and beautiful altar from 1652.
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Stange, Norway

Borre Church

It is unkown when the Borre church was built, but it probably dates from the 1100s when Oslo diocese was created. The church is built in Romanesque style. The entrance was built in the 1920s. Inside the church hung previously a three-meter high wooden cross from the 1300s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Borre, Norway

Dale Church

Dale stone church was built around 1220-1250 and restored in 1600s. The architecture is Gothic and the church contains frescoes dating from the 15th century. The rare pine-made altarpiece dates from the 13th or 14th century. There are also wooden sculptures of St. Olaf from the building time.
Founded: 1220-1250 | Location: Luster, Norway

Siljan Church

Siljan church is a long church built around 1150-1200. Its present form dates from 1838 when the church was extended. The 30 meter high church tower was built in 1903. The church contains a medieval font and crucifix.
Founded: 1150-1200 | Location: Siljan, Norway

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls) is a 17th-century church and monastery in the city of Lisbon. It is one of the most important monasteries and mannerist buildings in the country. The monastery also contains the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal.

The original Monastery of São Vicente de Fora was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, for the Augustinian Order. The Monastery, built in Romanesque style outside the city walls, was one of the most important monastic foundations in mediaeval Portugal. It is dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of Lisbon, whose relics were brought from the Algarve to Lisbon in the 12th century.

The present buildings are the result of a reconstruction ordered by King Philip II of Spain, who had become King of Portugal (as Philip I) after a succession crisis in 1580. The church of the monastery was built between 1582 and 1629, while other monastery buildings were finished only in the 18th century. The author of the design of the church is thought to be the Italian Jesuit Filippo Terzi and/or the Spaniard Juan de Herrera. The plans were followed and modified by Leonardo Turriano, Baltazar Álvares, Pedro Nunes Tinoco and João Nunes Tinoco.

The church of the Monastery has a majestic, austere façade that follows the later Renaissance style known as Mannerism. The façade, attributed to Baltazar Álvares, has several niches with statues of saints and is flanked by two towers (a model that would become widespread in Portugal). The lower part of the façade has three arches that lead to the galilee (entrance hall). The floorplan of the church reveals a Latin cross building with a one-aisled nave with lateral chapels. The church is covered by barrel vaulting and has a huge dome over the crossing. The general design of the church interior follows that of the prototypic church of Il Gesù, in Rome.

The beautiful main altarpiece is a Baroque work of the 18th century by one of the best Portuguese sculptors, Joaquim Machado de Castro. The altarpiece has the shape of a baldachin and is decorated with a large number of statues. The church also boasts several fine altarpieces in the lateral chapels.

The Monastery buildings are reached through a magnificent baroque portal, located beside the church façade. Inside, the entrance is decorated with blue-white 18th century tiles that tell the history of the Monastery, including scenes of the Siege of Lisbon in 1147. The ceiling of the room has an illusionistic painting executed in 1710 by the Italian Vincenzo Baccarelli. The sacristy of the Monastery is exuberantly decorated with polychromed marble and painting. The cloisters are also notable for the 18th century tiles that recount fables of La Fontaine, among other themes.

In 1834, after the religious orders were dissolved in Portugal, the monastery was transformed into a palace for the archbishops of Lisbon. Some decades later, King Ferdinand II transformed the monks' old refectory into a pantheon for the kings of the House of Braganza. Their tombs were transferred from the main chapel to this room.