Medieval churches in Norway

Eidsberg Church

Eidsberg church, also called as Østfold Cathedral, was built in the late 1200s, but burned in 1440. The church was rebuilt, and in 1880-81 it was extended and restored to its present appearance. The wall is derived in part from the old medieval church. Findings suggest an early church about the year 1000, followed by a Romanesque church in 1100-tallet. Alteret the current church is from 1651, the pulpit from 1662. ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Eidsberg, Norway

Idd Church

Idd church was built around the year 1100. It was badly damaged in an earthquake on Sunday, 23 October 1904. The earthquake occurred in the middle of church time, and the church was full of people, but no one was injured. In 1922 it was fully restored.
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Halden, Norway

Skaun Church

Skaun Church was built in 1183. There are some medieval frescoes survived. The pulpit was designed by Ole Bildsnider in 1665. The Baroque altarpiece dates from 1773.
Founded: 1183 | Location: Skaun, Norway

Sørum Church

Sørum Church was inaugurated probably in 1166. The pulpit is a Renaissance work ad altarpiece dates from 1733. There is a rare wheel cross in the church cemetery dating from the 12th century.
Founded: 1166 | Location: Sørum, Norway

Røyken Church

The first written record of the Røyken Church is in Eysteinn Erlendsson"s 'Red Book' in 1392. The church was however built already in 1229. It has a rectangular nave with stone walls that are around 2 meters thick. The altarpiece dates from the 1600s.
Founded: 1229 | Location: Røyken, Norway

Skedsmo Church

Skedsmo Church was originally built in 1180, but it was enlarged and reconstructed in 1869. The church is located to the site where the first wooden church was already in 1022. The pulpit dates from 1578 and altar from 1693. The font dates from c. 1200, as well as the wooden sculpture of St. Olaf. The original sculpture is today in museum, but there is a copy in Skedsmo Church.
Founded: 1180 | Location: Skedsmo, 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

Øye Stave Church

Øye stave church is a triple nave stave church and dates from the second half of the 12th century. The church was situated next to the lake Vangsmjøse in Øye. Here, however, the river Rødøla would flood almost every spring and, corpses would be flushed out of their graves. As a result the church was moved, this time to a location further away from the river. In 1747 the church was torn d ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Vang, Norway

Nøtterøy Church

Nøtterøy Church is a cross-formed medieval stone church. It was built in the end of the 12th century and first time mentioned in papal letter in 1323. The altarpiece was added in the 18th century and it is painted by Jacob Lindegard. There are stone reliefs in the church wall, which probably date from the original church.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Nøtterøy, Norway

Alstahaug Church

Alstahaug Church built in the 1100s and it seats about 270 people. It was enlarged in 1865 and restored in 1960. The altarpiece dates from 17th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Alstahaug, Norway

Steigen Church

The Steigen stone church was originally built around the year 1250, and it has since been renovated and expanded several times. In the 17th century the church was damaged several times by storms and lightning. The interior was changed in the late 1800s when it was restored. The chandelier dates from 1684. Between 1963-1965 the church was restored to the medieval appearance. The present church seats about 400 people.
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Steigen, Norway

Dønnes Church

Dønnes Church was built during the 1200s, probably by the order of Paul Vågaskalm (died in 1245). The chapel was added in the 1500s and tower in 1866. The church has a Madonna statue from the 1200s and St. Lawrence statue from the 1400s. The pulpit is Baroque and altarpiece from 1670.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Dønna, Norway

Bodin Church

Bodin Church was built around the year 1240 and was enlarged in 1785 with a transept. In 1894, the entire section of the medieval church was torn down and rebuilt in the same style. The church has a stone altar from the 1300s and some wooden sculptures from the late 1400s until the early 1500s. The church is characterized today by the interior from the 1600s and 1700s. The altarpiece is from 1670, the pulpit from the 1600 ...
Founded: c. 1240 | Location: Bodø, Norway

Korskirken

Korskirken is located at the intersection of the streets Kong Oscars gate and Nedre Korskirkeallmenning and dates back to the latter half of the 12th century. The name of the church refers to the True Cross (and not to its cruciform plan), and is usually rendered in English as "Holy Cross Church". This is because it was, as one of only a Norwegian churches, in possession of a relic from the True Cross. This reli ...
Founded: c. 1181 | Location: Bergen, 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

Avaldsnes Church

Before the current Avaldsnes church was constructed, there was a wooden church on the same site. That church is assumed to have been built by Olav Trygvason, and it is possible that the present stone church is built around this church originally. The current church has been a landmark for seafarers passing through the strait of Karmsund for 750 years. King Håkon IV Håkonsson gave permission to build a church around the ...
Founded: 1320 | Location: Avaldsnes, Norway

Løten Church

Løten Church is a stone church probably built around 1200. It was latest rebuilt in 1873. The font dates from 1815 and pulpit from 1873. The altarpiece was donated to the church in 1873.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Løten, Norway

Nes Church

Nes Church dates from c. 1180. The stone church has still some remnants of reliefs from the Middle ages. Near the church is an old farm which, according a legend, belonged to the 'King of Grenland' (Grenland is a traditional district in the county of Telemark).
Founded: c. 1180 | Location: Sauherad, Norway

Råde Church

It is supposed that Råde Church with its mighty tower was built around the year 1200. In old documents the church is first mentioned in 1330. It was damaged by lightning in the 16th century. The present altarpiece dates from 1638. In 1723 the church was sold to the owner of Tomb manor house, general Lützow. For 130 years to come the church belonged to different owners of Tomb, who got all its income and kept t ...
Founded: 1185-1200 | Location: Råde, Norway

Hvaler Church

Hvaler church is probably one of the oldest in Norway. According carbon dating methods on wood samples analyzed in 1960 it was originally built between 920 and 1080 AD. The current church nave dates mainly from the 12-13th centuries. Archeologists carried out extensive excavations during the restoration from 1953 to 1956. They discoverede there was a fireplace under the foundations dating from the age between 120 BC and 8 ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Skjærhalden, 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.