Medieval churches in Norway

Holt Church

Holt Church was built originally in the 1100s, but today it is one of the richest and largest Baroque style churches in Norway. The building was reconstructed in 1621, 1682 and 1737-1753. The medieval baptismal font is made of soapstone. The older triptych dates from the 16th century and the altar was made by Christen Paulsen in 1732.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Tvedestrand, Norway

Eidsborg Stave Church

Eidsborg Stave Church is one of the best preserved Norwegian stave churches. The church was probably built between 1250-1300. The church is dedicated to the traveller"s patron, St. Nicholas of Bari. It was partly reconstructed in the 19th century. The chorus was demolished in 1826. The new choir dates to the period 1845-50. The reconstruction work did not affect the structure or the shape of the church. It was restor ...
Founded: 1250-1300 | Location: Eidsborg, Norway

Oddernes Church

Oddernes Church is the oldest building in Kristiansand from c. 1040. It was originally built of stone and the tower was later made of wood. The chancel has rubble walls and a semi-circular apse. In the 1630s the church was extended by 8 meters after a gift of funds from King Christian IV in connection with a visit in 1635. The money was used for major repairs in the years 1642-1644 and in 1699 for constructing the bell to ...
Founded: c. 1040 | Location: Kristiansand, 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

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

Urnes Stave Church

The stave churches constitute one of the most elaborate types of wood construction which are typical of northern Europe from the Neolithic period to the Middle Ages. Christianity was introduced into Norway during the reign of St Olav (1016-30). The churches were built on the classic basilical plan, but entirely of wood. The roof frames were lined with boards and the roof itself covered with shingles in accordance with con ...
Founded: c. 1130 | Location: Ornes, Norway

Ogna Church

Ogna Church dates back to the mid-1200s. Originally a rectangular, long church with a nave and chancel of same widths. The oldest section has four corners made of steatite, a lavishly ornamented west portal, a Christening font and Communion table all made of steatite. On 13 November 1991 the church burned down and rebuilt and consecrated again on 5 June 1995.
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Ogna, Norway

Våler Church

Våler church was built between 1150 and 1200. The restorations were made in 1714, 1867 and 1961-63. One of the church bells is probably cast before 1160 while the other dates from 1799. Other treasures include a crucifix from the mid-1200s (from Limoges in France) and organs from ca. 1781 (built by Niels Samuelsen Dæli). The altarpiece and pulpit were a gift from cicar Peder Hansøn Prydz and his wife Ka ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Våler i Østfold, Norway

Skoger Old Church

Skoger Old Church was built of stone probably between 1192 and 1220. the major restoration was made in the late 1620s. The pulpit, altar and galleries date from the 17th century. In 1754 Skoger church was sold to local peasants. The new church was completed in 1885 and the old one was no longer used for worships. The latest restorations were made in the late 1900s and today the church is used in summertime.
Founded: 1192-1220 | Location: Drammen, Norway

Eidanger Church

Eidanger church was originally a relatively simple Romanesque stone church, probably built in ca. 1150. The church was rebuilt in 1787 and got new sacristy in 1981. Altarpiece, glass painting and the pulpit date from 1991. The church has two bells; one from 1720 and another from 1940.
Founded: 1150/1787 | Location: Porsgrunn, Norway

Østre Gausdal Church

Østre Gausdal Church was built between 1250-1300. During the Seven Years" War Swedish troops burned it in 1567. In 1700 the church was enlarged and the new pulpit was added. The organs were built by August Nielsen in 1888.
Founded: 1250-1300 | Location: Gausdal, Norway

Hove Church

Hove Church was built around the year 1170. Historians believe it was built by a great man who belonged to the very upper echelon within the Norwegian aristocracy. They say he had built this as a private chapel. It"s a small church with seating for only about 35 people. Peter Andreas Blix was an architect who bought the run down church in 1880, and he restored the church from 1883-1888. Blix"s goal was to finis ...
Founded: 1170 | Location: Vik i Sogn, Norway

Haug Church

Haug Church was built in the 13th century and it was first time mentioned in 1361. The church was enlarged and restored couple of times in the 18th century and again in 1878. The altar dates from the 19th century.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ringerike, Norway

Skiptvet Church

Skiptvet church is a medieval stone church built around 1150-1200. It was restored and expanded after damaged by fire in 1762. The pulpit and altarpiece were also added then.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Skiptvet, 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

Nore Stave Church

Dendrochronological dating of wood samples indicate that Nore stave church was built after 1167. The church was built with galleries, a chancel and cross naves - an architectural style that was unique in Europe during the Middle Ages. This style is called the Nummedals-type. The church also has a central mast, that was originally the support for a tower, mostly likely containing church bells. The walls and ceiling of the ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Nore og Uvdal, Norway

Uvdal Stave Church

Uvdal Stave Church was originally constructed just after the year 1168, which we know through dendrochronological dating of the pine tree used during the construction. The logs were not completely dry when the construction took place. The church was made on top of the remains of previous church on the site, thought to have been made with the use of imbedded corner column technology at the beginning of the 11th century. Th ...
Founded: 1168 | Location: Nore og Uvdal, Norway

Bø Old Church

Bø old church was built between 1150 and 1180 in Romanesque style. The porch was added in the 1600s. There is a triumph crucifix from the 13th century, but the other interior dates mainly from the Renaissance age after Reformation.
Founded: 1150-1180 | Location: Bø i Telemark, Norway

Vangen Church

Vangen Church was built in 1202 or 1280 depending the reference. It was built by an ancient family who lived in Aurland in the Viking Age and Middle Ages. The church is built in the early Gothic style influenced by English architecture. A document written in 1714 tells us that the English merchants used to stay in Aurland during long periods to buy different articles and they are supposed to have taken part in the buildin ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Aurland, Norway

Kvamsøy Church

Kvamsøy island is notable because it is home to the historic Kvamsøy Church which was built around the year 1300. It was the centre of the Kvamsøy parish for hundreds of years, serving the southern part of the present-day Balestrand municipality. The church was used until 1903 when it was closed down and replaced by the newly built Sæle Church, a short distance away on the mainland.
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Balestrand, 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.