Medieval churches in Norway

Sørbø Church

Sørbø Church was built around 1130. It had a tower in the Middle Ages, but it was demolished in 1883-1884.
Founded: 1130 | Location: Rennesøy, 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

Lade Church

Lade Church is believed to be one of Norway"s oldest stone churches. It is unknown when when it was exactly built, but people started using it around 1190. The current church is assumed to be the successor of two other churches, which are believed to have been one stone church and one stave church. During the wars with Sweden and later during World War II, the church was used as a food stock. There is actually a swas ...
Founded: c. 1190 | Location: Trondheim, Norway

Høyjord Stave Church

Høyjord stave church was built in the end of the 11th century. The church was later removed once and rebuilt. Last reconstruction was completed in 1950. The church is also the only stave church which is left in the county of Vestfold.The church is one of two preserved churches having a pillar or post in the middle. In addition tho this central post there are 12 staves, all of which supports the building. Each stave ...
Founded: c. 1190 | Location: Andebu, 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

Grip Stave Church

Grip Stave Church is one of Norway's smallest churches (it is only 12m long and 6,5m wide). The church was built in about 1470 at the island's highest point. The church is of the Møre type, being structurally similar to the larger Kvernes and Rødven stave churches. Because of the barren nature of the island, there is no cemetery on the church grounds, and bodies had to be buried elsewhere, in the cemetery of Bremsnes Ch ...
Founded: c. 1470 | Location: Smøla, Norway

Haslum Church

Haslum church was built in c. 1190 in Romanesque style. It is possible that it was built by Cistercian monks who also built Halvard Cathedral in Oslo. The original long nave was altered to cross shape in the 1200s. In 1300 there were 12 altars in the church. Haslum church was reconstructed in 1853 and restored to the medieval appearance in 1924. The wooden statues of the Virgin Mary and the Bishop are copies of medieval ...
Founded: 1190 | Location: Bærum, Norway

Haug Church

Haug Church was originally built in 1152 and it consisted of tower, nave and choir. The church was destroyed by fire in 1818 and rebuilt. There is a private tomb of Jørgen von Cappelen (1761) in the church tower.
Founded: 1152 | Location: Hokksund, Norway

Hedenstad Church

Hedenstad Church was built in the 12th century and restored in 1889. The tower dates from 1782. Between 1723-1856 it was privately owned. The interior dates mainly from the 1800s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Skollenborg, Norway

Fjære Church

Fjære church was built of stone in c. 1150. The most valuable detail is a finely sculpted head of a man in stone over the south door, dating from before 1150. The church's unique and beautiful baptismal font, in the High Gothic style from the Middle Ages. Olavskilden, a fountain associated with St. Olav the Holy. The Terje Vigen stone monument in memory of the brave men of the 1807–1814 war. The stone monument was erec ...
Founded: 1150 | Location: Grimstad, 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

Dolm Church

Dolm church was made of white stone church and originally built in 1188. It was built in the Romanesque style with rounded arches and thick stone walls. The church has burned down many times, most recently in 1920. The church was rebuilt again during the 1920s, but the new Hitra church was built across the strait in Melandsjøen in 1927 and it became the new main church for the parish.
Founded: 1188 | Location: Hitra, Norway

Eidfjord Old Church

Eidfjord Old Church was built in 1309. The story tells of a domineering and powerful Rich-Ragna who built the church to pay for her sins. The interior is mainly from the 17th and 18th century. The pulpit was made in 1613 and font in 1680.
Founded: 1309 | Location: Eidfjord, Norway

Løvøya Chapel

Løvøya chapel was built at some time between 1223-1398. The chapel was dedicated to St. Halvard and St. Martin. Its form is known from Orkney and Man islands with a nave and chancel built together. Also the circular light openings in gable walls are typical to this church architecture. After the Reformation in 1536 Løvøya chapel was left to decay for centuries. In 1882 the ruins were restored and in 1950 Løvøya Chap ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Horten, Norway

Flesberg Stave Church

Flesberg stave church was probably built around 1200. The first written reference to the church is from 1359. The church was originally a single nave church with four free-standing internal posts bearing a raised central roof, surrounded by an ambulatory or aisles on all four sides. It had a narrower chancel, also with a raised central roof, and a semicircular apse. It was surrounded by a gallery loosely connected to the ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Flesberg, Norway

Kapitelberget Church Ruins

Kapitelberget ruined church is the foremost reminder of the powerful Dags family in Skien. It was a crypt church, one of the only four similar churches in Norway. Kapitelberget was built as a private chapel by Dag Eilivsson in the 12th century. It may have been destroyed when Bratsberg farm burned in 1156. The church was situated on the highest point in the vicinity of Skien at the top of the range of hills to the east o ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Skien, Norway

Våle Church

Våle church was built around the year 1190 probably by the craftsmen from Denmark and Germany. It represents the Romanesque style with round arches in windows and portals. The two major restorations were made in 1683 and 1747. The baptismal font is made of Gotland limestone in Middle Ages. The altarpiece dates from 1650.
Founded: 1190 | Location: Våle, Norway

Berg Church

Berg Church was built in the 12th century. The pulpit from 1592 is today in the Norsk Folkemuseum in Oslo. The church has a baptismal font made of Gotland soapstone aound 1150.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Halden, 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

Hegge Stave Church

The first recorded reference to the Hegge stave church is from 1327. Dendrochronological dating of some of the logs in the church, however, indicates that the church was built around 1216. It is a basilica type church with 8 free-standing interior columns forming an arcade, surrounding a central area with a raised roof. A runic inscription on the church reads: Erling Arnson wrote these runes. The lower story of the bell ...
Founded: c. 1216 | Location: Øystre Slidr, 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.