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

Eketorp Fort

Eketorp is an Iron Age fort in southeastern Öland, which was extensively reconstructed and enlarged in the Middle Ages. Throughout the ages the fortification has served a variety of somewhat differing uses: from defensive ringfort, to medieval safe haven and thence a cavalry garrison. In the 20th century it was further reconstructed to become a heavily visited tourist site and a location for re-enactment of medieval battles. Eketorp is the only one of the 19 known prehistoric fortifications on Öland that has been completely excavated, yielding a total of over 24,000 individual artifacts. The entirety of southern Öland has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Eketorp fortification is often referred to as Eketorp Castle.

The indigenous peoples of the Iron Age constructed the original fortification about 400 AD, a period known to have engendered contact between Öland natives with Romans and other Europeans. The ringfort in that era is thought to have been a gathering place for religious ceremonies and also a place of refuge for the local agricultural community when an outside enemy appeared. The circular design was believed to be chosen because the terrain is so level that attack from any side was equally likely. The original diameter of this circular stone fortification was about 57 metres. In the next century the stone was moved outward to construct a new circular structure of about 80 metres in diameter. At this juncture there were known to be about fifty individual cells or small structures within the fort as a whole. Some of these cells were in the center of the fortified ring, and some were actually built into the wall itself.

In the late 600s AD the ringfort was mysteriously abandoned, and it remained unused until the early 11th century. This 11th century work generally built upon the earlier fort, except that stone interior cells were replaced with timber structures, and a second outer defensive wall was erected.

Presently the fort is used as a tourist site for visitors to Öland to experience a medieval fortification for this region. A museum within the castle walls displays a few of the large number of artefacts retrieved by the National Heritage Board during the major decade long excavation ending in 1974. Inside the fort visitors are greeted by actors in medieval costumes who assume the roles of period artisans and merchants who might have lived there nine centuries earlier. There are also re-enactment scenes of skirmishes and other dramatic events of daily life from the Middle Ages.

Eketorp lies a few kilometers west of Route 136. There is an ample unpaved parking area situated approximately two kilometers west of the paved Öland perimeter highway. There is also a gift shop on site. During peak summer visitation, there are guided tours available. Visitors are assessed an admission charge.