Medieval churches in Norway

Herøy Church

Herøy Church dates from the 12th century and represents the same Romanesque style as Dønnes and Alstahaug churches. It was probably built to the site of earlier pagan temple. The crucifix from the 1300s is today in Bergen Museum. The great chandelier dates from 1655. The altarpiece and pulpit were made in 1764.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Herøy, Norway

Snåsa Church

Snåsa Church stone church was originally built in c. 1220, but it was remodeled and enlarged in 1869. The Neo-Gothic style church now seats about 500 people.
Founded: 1220 | Location: Snåsa, Norway

Eidsvoll Church

Eidsvoll church dates from c. 1200, but it has been destroyed by fire and rebuilt several times. The fine altarpiece dates from 1765, but it was also restored in 1883, 1915 and 1969.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Eidsvoll, Norway

Hof Church

Hof Church was built around 1150. The tower was added in 1662 and the porch in 1958. The altarpiece dates from 1637.
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Hof, Norway

St. Clement's Church Ruins

St. Clement"s Church or Klemet"s Church was one of the Roman Catholic parish churches of the old Oslo. It was a stone church with a tower, and it was one of the very few churches we know with the double-nave floor plan. Along the middle axis of the choir there were three powerful pillars that held the roof. The church went out of use after the Protestant Reformation, and expect it rather quickly was in ruins. T ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Lom Stave Church

Lom Stave Church is a triple nave stave church that uses free standing inner columns to support a raised section in the ceiling of the main nave. This type of church is amongst the oldest stave churches. The church was first situated in a sub valley to the valley Gudbrandsdal in Oppland County, some 60 kilometers west of Otta. The church dates to approximately second part of 12th century, but was rebuilt into a cruciform ...
Founded: 1158 | Location: Lom, Norway

Ski Church

Ski Church was built around 1150. Originally it consisted of nave and choir, but the church was enlarged later. The bells date from 1668 and 1871. The major restoration took place in 1934-1935.
Founded: 1150 | Location: Ski, 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

Heddal Stave Church

Heddal stave church is a triple nave stave church and is Norway"s largest stave church. It was constructed at the beginning of the 13th century. After the reformation, the church was in a very poor condition, and a restoration took place during 1849 - 1851. However, because the restorers lacked the necessary knowledge and skills, yet another restoration was necessary in the 1950s. The interior is marked by the period ...
Founded: c. 1210 | Location: Notodden, Norway

Kråkstad Church

Kråkstad Church was built around 1150, but it has been enlarged and restored several times (in 1691, 1801 and 1882). It was destroyed by lightning in 1801 and the interior was totally replaced in the restoration. The near parsonage dates from 1771.
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Ski, Norway

Kinn Church

Kinn Church was built in the second part of the 12th century. It is the oldest and the only one of its kind in the Sunnfjord region, and it is one of the most impressive medieval monuments in Western Norway. It was the main church in the parish of Kinn until 1882, when the new Florø Church was built in the newly founded city of Florø. Currently, Kinn Church is used only during the summer months. The church ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Kinn, Norway

Nesodden Church

Nesodden Church was built between 1136 - 1180 and restored in 1870 and 1956-1960. The font is medieval, pulpit represents Renaissance style and altarpiece was made in 1715.
Founded: 1136-1180 | Location: Nesodden, 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

Skjeberg Church

Skjeberg church was built around 1100 and the Gothic entrance portal was added later. The Romanesque baptismal font is on of the finest in Norway with reliefs depicting Christ with Apostles.
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Skjeberg, 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

Rakkestad Church

Rakkestad Church is a Romanesque medieval church with a rectangular nave and narrow choir, probably built in ca. 1200. Rakkestad church is first mentioned in written sources in 1370. It was taken over by Rakkestad parish in 1860 and restored in 1875.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Rakkestad, Norway

Selbu Church

Selbu Church was built around the year 1150 and the tower was added a century later. The church was enlarged in the 19th century. The pulpit and altarpiece dates from the 18th century and represents rural Baroque style.
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Selbu, 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

Ringsaker Church

Ringsaker Church was built originally in the mid-1100s. The transept was added in the 1200s and the 68m high spire in 1652 (restored in 1694). The most valuable detail in the church is the altar triptych with 127 figures. It was made in Antwerpen around 1520 by Robert Moreau. The pulpit and font represent Baroque style and were made by Lars Jensen Borg in 1704. The crucifix dates from 1683.
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Ringsaker, Norway

Old Edøy Church

Old Edøy Church was built around the year 1190. It has had numerous renovations over the years to enlarge it and repair it. After several hundred years of use, it was too small and old to continue as the main church for the parish, so it was decided to build a new Edøy Church. The new church would be built to the north, on the island of Smøla instead of the more isolated location of the old church on ...
Founded: 1190 | Location: Smøla, 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.