Medieval churches in Norway

Old Veøy Church

The Old Veøy stone church was built around the year 1200. The church was located on Veøya due to the importance of the great Romsdalsfjorden during the Viking Age. The church was used for centuries until 1901 when a royal decree was handed down to discontinue its active use. The church continued to be used until 1907 when the new Veøy Church was built on the mainland. The new church was located there ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Molde, Norway

Sakshaug Old Church

Sakshaug Old Church is one of the oldest churches in Trøndelag, dating back to about 1150. The church was consecrated by Archbishop Eysteinn Erlendsson in 1184 and was decommissioned in 1871 when the new Sakshaug Church was consecrated. The ownership of the church was transferred to the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Norwegian Monuments in 1873 and was renovated from 1910 to 1958 after having been without a roof ...
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Inderøy, Norway

Logtun Church

The current Logtun Church dates probably from the 16th century, but there has been a church since the 12th century. It was left to decay in the 1860s when the church was completed. The restoration took place in the early 1900s. The altarpiece was made in 1652.
Founded: 16th century | Location: Frosta, Norway

Alstadhaug Church

Alstadhaug stone church was built during the 12th century (probably around 1180) and has been remodeled several times since then. The apsis was added around 1250 and the sacristy, the Maria chapel, around 1500. The porch dates from the 18th century. The present steeple was built in 1788. A major restoration took place in 1946-52.
Founded: c. 1180 | Location: Levanger, Norway

Vereide Church

Vereide Church was originally built in the 1100s and the oldest parts of the present church date back to that time. This is the oldest surviving stone church in the Nordfjord region. The church was extensively remodeled in the 1600s and a few times since then. The present church seats about 460 people.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Gloppen, 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

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

Vestre Moland Church

Vestre Moland Church was built of stone in c. 1150 and thick walls are still a part of the nave. The church was mentioned in official documents in 1347. The original timber-work tower was added in the 1660s. Work on the sacristy was started in 1742. In 1797 extension side chapels gave the church a cruciform shape as it appears today.
Founded: 1150 | Location: Lillesand, 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

Hole Church

Hole church dates from the 13th century. The original stone church was largely destroyed by fire in 1736. The church was rebuilt in 1737. Repairs, restorations and remodeling occurred during 1827 and 1909.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hole, Norway

Efteløt Church

Efteløt Church was built in c. 1184 and it was dedicated to Virgin Mary and John the Baptist. The large restoration took place in 1876 when the church was moved to Gothic style.
Founded: 1184 | Location: Kongsberg, Norway

Heggen Church

Heggen Church was built in the 1200s. It was modified to the cross-shaped church in 1697 and enlarged in 1832 & 1878. The altarpiece and pulpit date from the late 1600s.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Modum, 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

Ænes Church

Ænes stone church was probably built between 1190-1220. The tower was erected in 1869. The pulpit dates from 1630 and altarpiece from 1766.
Founded: 1190-1220 | Location: Ænes, Norway

Balke Church

Balke Church was built around 1170 in Romanesque and early Gothic style. It was enlarged in 1714. The altarpiece from 1526 is unique in Norway. The font dates from 1719 and pulpit from 1822.
Founded: 1170 | Location: Østre Toten, Norway

Lunner Church

Lunner church dates from the 12th century. It was originally only a stone church with a circular stone tower at the west side. On the image the original stone church can be seen on the right hand side. Sometime between 1780 – 1790, the tower was dismantled and the church rebuilt into a cruciform church. This can be observed to the left in the picture. The newer parts in wood underwent restoration work in 1987 &nda ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Lunner, 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

Sauherad Church

Sauherad Church is a stone long church built in Romanesque style in the 12th century. The church is known for a fresco in the chancel which was uncovered during restoration in 1953. The fresco, known as 'The Thousand Demons', depicts a myriad of fantastic devil faces.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Sauherad, Norway

Ulnes Church

Ulnes Church is a stone church built around 1265, and was first time mentioned in documents in 1307. The choir comprises a very old baptismal font cover. A female figure from the 13th or 14th century is displayed in a glass case in the entrance hall. This is one half of a figure illustrating the meeting between Mary and Elisabeth. The church used to have an altar front from the period 1325-1350, showing St. Margareth, St. ...
Founded: c. 1265 | Location: Nord-Aurdal, Norway

Slidredomen

Slidredomen is the old principal parish church in Valdres, dating back to the 1100s. The church was mentioned in writing for the first time in a letter from the pope in 1264, and it was then referred to as 'ecclesie Sancte Marie De Slidrum'. It also features the inscription 'Maria' in runic letters. The south-facing main entrance is equipped with medieval fittings in wrought iron and measuring stick. A ...
Founded: c. 1268 | Location: Vestre Slidre, Norway

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.