Medieval churches in 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

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

Ramnes Church

Ramnes church dates from the 1100s. The heavy stone walls are original except the northwest corner. The tower was erected in the early 1600s. The font was made in the early 1200s, altarpiece and pulpit with carved panels date from the 1600s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ramnes, 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

St. Jetmund Church

Saint Jetmund Church was built in 1150 and torn down in 1864 when it was replaced by the newly built Vanylven Church in nearby Slagnes. The stone was reused around the area in other buildings. In 1957, it was decided to rebuild the old church on its old foundations using the old plans of the church. Many of the original stones were reclaimed and reused in the new church. The new church is now a museum. The church was nam ...
Founded: 1150 | Location: Vanylven, Norway

Enebakk Church

Enebakk Church was built in 1104 and the first tower was erected in c. 1200. The current appearance dates mainly from the 1500s and the tower was also re-erected in 1551. It is the oldest wooden tower in a stone church in Norway. The font is made of soapstone in the Middle Ages. The altarpiece dates from 1608 and pulpit from 1667.
Founded: 1104 | Location: Enebakk, 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

Værnes Church

Værnes Church, the oldest building in Stjørdal, was built around 1085-1100. It was nearly started at the same time as the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. Under the high roofs the centuries have written their autographs. Pictures of gods and devil´s masks fight ruthlessly about the hegemony in the human soul. The dramaturgy of the Middle Age comes alive in the life- or death battle that unfolds before ou ...
Founded: 1085-1100 | Location: Stjørdal, Norway

Tromøy Church

Tromøy church was originally a Romanesque stone church built around 1150. The church was reconstructed to a cruciform church between 1748-1758, and today this fabulous church is one of Arendal's oldest sights. The church is an old seamark, and due to the unsheltered location, the church is without a tower. The interior of Tromøy church is beautiful. There are wood carvings and painted interior from the 1750s, restored i ...
Founded: 1150 | Location: Færvik, Norway

Nes Church

Nes Church was built in c. 1250 in English Gothic style. It has been restored in the 1700s and 1964.
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Nes På Hedmark, Norway

Hesby Church

Hesby stone church was built around 1250 and it was first time mentioned in written document Diplomatarium Norvegicum in 1309. The large restoration took place in 1959-1960.
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Finnøy, Norway

Kvinnherad Church

Kvinnherad Church was built around 1250 and restored in 1670 and 1913. It was probably the main church for the region in the Middle Ages, but in 1678 it became a private church for the baron of the Barony Rosendal, and was not parish church again until 1910. The church has a rectangular nave and choir, is little changed since the Middle Ages. All of the Gothic portals and windows are kept, which are relatively rare. The w ...
Founded: 1250 | Location: Kvinnherad, Norway

Tanum Church

Tanum church was built probably in the 12th century and it has 216 seats. It was restored in 1910-1911 by the architect Haldor Børve. Tanum church containts valuable items, such as baptismal font made of Gotland sandstone from the 1250s and the Renaissance style pulpit made in 1591. The altarpiece was painted by Eilif Peterssen in the 1890s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Larvik, 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

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

Frogner Old Church

Frogner Old Church was built around 1180 and it is a small stone church with only 90 seats. It was destroyed by fire in 1918. The restoration was completed during next decades.
Founded: 1180 | Location: Sørum, Norway

Norderhov Church

Norderhov church was originally built in c. 1170. It has been rebuilt and expanded into a cruciform church. The construction may be related to the establishment of the Diocese of Hamar in 1153. Norderhov Church has a recorded history dating to an announcement for Ringerike issued in 1298 by Duke Hakon Magnusson, who later became King Haakon V. The church is most known for it close connection with Anna Colbjørnsdatter and ...
Founded: c. 1170 | Location: Hønefoss, Norway

Andebu Church

Andebu stone church dates from the 12th century and it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St. Nicholas. On the south wall of the nave is a picture by the Dutchman Pieter Aertsen, painted in 1569. For many years this picture was the altarpiece in The Church of our Lady in Tønsberg. The altarpiece of Andebu church comprises three paintings framed by columns, with a larger picture of the Ascension above it, probably ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Andebu, Norway

Borre Church

It is unkown when the Borre church was built, but it probably dates from the 1100s when Oslo diocese was created. The church is built in Romanesque style. The entrance was built in the 1920s. Inside the church hung previously a three-meter high wooden cross from the 1300s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Borre, Norway

Berg Stone Church

Berg old church was built around the year 1100. The church is built Anglo-Saxon style, with an oval nave and a smaller four-sided choir in Romanesque style. The original church was torn down in 1882, and rebuilt in 1970.The oldest object in the church is a runestone from the 12th century laid inside the church walls and a grave stone from the same period with a primitively carved crucifix. The pulpit dates from 1592.
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Larvik, Norway

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Trinity Sergius Lavra

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.

Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.

In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.

The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.

In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by  Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.

After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.

In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.

Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.

In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.

In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.