Medieval churches in Norway

Siljan Church

Siljan church is a long church built around 1150-1200. Its present form dates from 1838 when the church was extended. The 30 meter high church tower was built in 1903. The church contains a medieval font and crucifix.
Founded: 1150-1200 | Location: Siljan, Norway

Hedrum Church

Hedrum Church was built of stone around 1100 and has 260 seats. The church has a rectangular nave, square choir and apse. Archaeological excavations show that the apse is added later. The structure was extended by four meters in 1666. The west part with the portal and door openings are from after the Reformation. Hedrum Church has a number of tombstones, which cover large parts of the floor of the church. Hedrum Church ce ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Larvik, Norway

Tjølling Church

Tjølling and Kaupang were one of the oldest and biggest Viking settlements in Scandinavia. The Tjølling Church, built in the early 1100s, had a connection to the Viking trading centre and ancient Huseby farm. The church was damaged by fire in 1360 and rebuilt. A rare earthquake damaged it again in 1750s. The restoration took place in 1762-1767 and the appearance was modified to the Rococo style. The altarpiece and pulpi ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Larvik, Norway

Fon Church

Fon church dates from the 1100s and is built in the Romanesque style. It has 130 seats. The current bell tower was erected in 1839. Fon church has a pulpit from 1603 and altarpiece from 1633.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Revetal, Norway

Old Glemmen Church

Old Glemmen Church was built in the Romanesque style in the 12th century. It is the oldest building in Fredrikstad. The baptismal font, made of soapstone from Aremark, dates from ca. 1225. Figure of the apostle Thomas was made around 1450 and a christ figure in the 16th century. It is a remnant of a large crucifix, probably from Lübeck. Altarpiece dates from 1708, pulpit from 1731.
Founded: c. 1182 | Location: Fredrikstad, Norway

Rakkestad Church

Rakkestad Church is a Romanesque medieval church with a rectangular nave and narrow choir, probably built in ca. 1200. Rakkestad church is first mentioned in written sources in 1370. It was taken over by Rakkestad parish in 1860 and restored in 1875.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Rakkestad, Norway

Selbu Church

Selbu Church was built around the year 1150 and the tower was added a century later. The church was enlarged in the 19th century. The pulpit and altarpiece dates from the 18th century and represents rural Baroque style.
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Selbu, Norway

Mo Church Ruins

Mo church ruin probably date back to around 1215, and this may well be Norway`s smallest free-standing stone church from medieval times. It is believed that it was originally a privately owned church. However, Mo parish is mentioned in both 1368 and 1400. The oldest coins found are form King Sverre`s reign 1177-1202, and the most recent ones are from reign of King Hans who died in 1513. These indicate the period during w ...
Founded: 1215 | Location: Slidre, Norway

Ranem Church

The white stone Ranem Church was originally constructed in 1187. The altarpiece dates from 1678.
Founded: 1187 | Location: Overhalla, Norway

Hustad Church

Hustad Church was built in the mid-1100s. It is a preserved but no longer used as a regular parish church. Some unique aspects of this small church is that most of the interior items such as the pews are original, and the cemetery is surrounded by a wooden fence, the only such preserved fence in all of Trøndelag.
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Inderøy, Norway

Snåsa Church

Snåsa Church stone church was originally built in c. 1220, but it was remodeled and enlarged in 1869. The Neo-Gothic style church now seats about 500 people.
Founded: 1220 | Location: Snåsa, Norway

Mære Church

Mære Church is famous for its medieval roof with heads (human, beast and mythological) projecting from the top of its walls. The stone church likely dates to between 1150 and 1200. This is suggested by stylistic dating of its dedicatory inscription as well as coins dating from the reign of King Sverre (1183-1202) found during excavations. The pagan site buried under the church may possibly be the one referred to in ...
Founded: 1150-1200 | Location: Sparbu, Norway

Øyestad Church

The Gothic Øyestad Church was built of stone around 1200. The eastern wall was demolished in the 1600s. Øyestad church was destroyed by fire in 1900. It was restored and the interior completely replaced in 1902.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Rykene, Norway

Høvåg Church

Høvåg Church was originally a 10m long stone church built around 1150. In 1767 it was enlarged and in 1831 a wing was added on to the north facing wall. The restauration was completed in 1831. The altar is a triptych from c. 1620. The pulpit was carved around 1660.
Founded: 1150 | Location: Høvåg, Norway

Bønsnes Church

Bønsnes Church is a small rectangle-shaped church from the built in the late 1200s. The medieval church was abandoned in the 16th and 17th centirues, but the restoration began in 1680 and used again as a parish church since 1727. The tower was erected in 1862. Inside Bønsnes Church there is a preserved sculpture of the Virgin Mary with child from the 1200s, and a crucifix from the late 1400s. The pulpit in Bønsnes Chu ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hole, 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

Fiskum Old Church

Fiskum Old Church was built in c. 1250 and it was dedicated to St. Olaf. The sacristy was added in the 1700s and the church restored in the 1800s. The pulpit dates from 1650, altar and font from the 1700s.
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Darbu, Norway

Rokoberget Church Ruins

The church ruin at Rokoberget is the remains of a church dedicated to the archangel St. Michael. The church was built of stone and was sited at the top of the Rokoberget hill. St. Michael"s church was first mentioned in a papal letter of 1254 and has been a wayside church, but historians disagree about whether the passers-by were pilgrims or Swedes on their way to the market at Hamar. The ruins, which are accessible ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Løten, 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

Hoff Church

Hoff stone church was built in the 12th century. Hoff church is similar in construction to the old cathedrals at Hamar, Nikolai Church in Gran, Old Aker Church, and Ringsaker Church. The joint model for these churches was the historic Hallvards Cathedral, the main church of medieval Oslo. After 1658, Hallvards Cathedral was demolished with only ruins left of the former cathedral in Oslo. Hoff stone church was built of li ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Østre Toten, 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.