Medieval churches in Norway

Giske Church

Giske Church was built of white marble in the 12th century. The origin of the marble is unclear, but it was brought to the island by boat. Where it came from before that is unknown. Today the walls are covered by chalk on the outside and plaster on the inside, so that the marble is only visible in a few places, all on the outside. The architectural style is Norman. The church was originally a family chapel consisting of ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Giske, Norway

Reinli Stave Church

The Reinli Stave Church was built some time during the 14th century. It is the third church at the same location in Reinli. The first references made to a church at this location comes from Olaf Haraldsson who travelled through Valdres in 1023, and also visited Reinli. It is believed that there was a pagan temple at the same location before the first church, some time before 1000. Through radiocarbon dating, logs in the ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Reinli, Norway

Hol Old Church

Hol Old Church (Hol gamle kirke) is presumed to date from the 13th century, but the exact dating is unknown. The church is the oldest parish in Hol and is first mentioned in a letter from 1328 as a small stave church with covered side porches. The church has been expanded several times, in the 16th century, in 1697 and in 1798-99. It was rebuilt in 1888 and 1938. It is believed that the floor of the church was made using ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hol, Norway

Ullensvang Church

Ullensvang Church was built in the 13th century and has been remodeled and expanded several times over the centuries. The present church seats about 430 people. Colloquially, the church is known as the Hardanger Cathedral due to its size, history, and central location in the Hardanger region of the county. The area of Ullensvang is named after the old pagan god Ullin. Ullensvang is thus an old name. It is reasonable that ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ullensvang, Norway

Rollag Stave Church

Rollag Stave Church was probably originally built in second half of the 12th century, though not much is left of the original church. Originally, the church has been a simple church with a rectangular nave. It was first mentioned in written sources in 1425. It was rebuilt around 1660 into a cruciform church. Around 1760, an additional lining wall was placed on top of the structure and the church was extended to the west.
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Rollag, Norway

Leikanger Church

Leikanger Church was originally built of stone in ca. 1250. Two towers and the porch were added in the 1600s. In 1872 the interior was replaced almost completely, the porch was demolished and tower replaced with a new one. The pulpit and altar date from the early 1600s.
Founded: 1250 | Location: Leikanger, Norway

St. Olav's Church Ruins

St. Olav"s Church stone church was built before 1150 and probably Telemark"s largest stone church in former times. It had a number of unusual building features, including lektorium and a separate room for earthly values, which today is called 'Mary"s Chapel'. Probably the church was the main church in Grenland, a kind of 'county church' and therefore had the highest status of all churche ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bamble, Norway

Stiklestad Church

Stiklestad Church was built at the site of the Battle of Stiklestad and completed in 1180. During the battle in 1030, St. Olaf received three severe wounds—in the knee, in the neck, and the final mortal blow through the heart—and died leaning against a large stone. The church building is assumed to have been erected on the exact spot where St. Olaf was killed during that battle and that stone is supposedly sti ...
Founded: 1180 | Location: Verdal, Norway

Lomen Stave Church

Lomen stave church was built in the second half of the 12th century. Through dendrochronological dating the church has been dated to 1179, but the first reference in written sources is not until 1325 and 1334, at that time as 'Hvams kirke'. The church was rebuilt and enlarged in 1779. The church is supported by 4 columns, and has three lavishly carved portals, chancel-arches and column capitals. During the last ...
Founded: c. 1179 | Location: Lomen, Norway

Spangereid Church

Spangereid church is a beautiful medieval church from c. 1100. The church was originally a Romanesque long church, and the oldest part is made of stone. In the 1830s the church was modified and extended, which means that the current structure is a cruciform church.
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Lindesnes, Norway

Oddernes Church

Oddernes Church is the oldest building in Kristiansand from c. 1040. It was originally built of stone and the tower was later made of wood. The chancel has rubble walls and a semi-circular apse. In the 1630s the church was extended by 8 meters after a gift of funds from King Christian IV in connection with a visit in 1635. The money was used for major repairs in the years 1642-1644 and in 1699 for constructing the bell to ...
Founded: c. 1040 | Location: Kristiansand, 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

Nes Church Ruins

Nes Church was built originally in the 1100s and has been enlarged several times. It was burned down in the war against Swedish in 1567 and rebuilt later. In 1697 it was transformed to cross shape. Nes church was destroyed by lightning in 1854. The restoration began in 1924. The altarpiece, font and pulpit survived from fire and were located to new Nes church in 1860s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Nes, 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

Nore Stave Church

Dendrochronological dating of wood samples indicate that Nore stave church was built after 1167. The church was built with galleries, a chancel and cross naves - an architectural style that was unique in Europe during the Middle Ages. This style is called the Nummedals-type. The church also has a central mast, that was originally the support for a tower, mostly likely containing church bells. The walls and ceiling of the ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Nore og Uvdal, 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

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

Sola Church Ruins

The current Sola church is built on the ruins of an early 12th century Romanesque stone church. The old church was in use until 1842 , when it began to decay. Painter Johan Bennetter bought the church ruins in 1871 and converted it into a private residence with studio. In 1907 the family moved into a new house that was built in the garden. The basement of this house is preserved southwest of the church ruins. Large sectio ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Sola, Norway

Hove Church

Hove Church was built around the year 1170. Historians believe it was built by a great man who belonged to the very upper echelon within the Norwegian aristocracy. They say he had built this as a private chapel. It"s a small church with seating for only about 35 people. Peter Andreas Blix was an architect who bought the run down church in 1880, and he restored the church from 1883-1888. Blix"s goal was to finis ...
Founded: 1170 | Location: Vik i Sogn, Norway

Skoger Old Church

Skoger Old Church was built of stone probably between 1192 and 1220. the major restoration was made in the late 1620s. The pulpit, altar and galleries date from the 17th century. In 1754 Skoger church was sold to local peasants. The new church was completed in 1885 and the old one was no longer used for worships. The latest restorations were made in the late 1900s and today the church is used in summertime.
Founded: 1192-1220 | Location: Drammen, Norway

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of the Savior on Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.

Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.

In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.