Medieval churches in Norway

St. Olav's Church Ruins

St. Olav"s Church stone church was built before 1150 and probably Telemark"s largest stone church in former times. It had a number of unusual building features, including lektorium and a separate room for earthly values, which today is called 'Mary"s Chapel'. Probably the church was the main church in Grenland, a kind of 'county church' and therefore had the highest status of all churche ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bamble, 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

Torpo Stave Church

Built in 1192, the Torpo stave church is the oldest building within the valley and traditional district of Hallingdal. The church was dedicated to Saint Margareta. The stave church was purchased by the municipality in 1875. It was initially planned to expand it with an annex to the east, but in 1879 it was decided instead to modernize the interior with new ceiling and gallery. Following protest from the Ancient Monuments ...
Founded: 1192 | Location: Ål, Norway

Rokke Church

Rokke church is a Romanesque stone church built in the 12th century. It was restored and rebuilt in 1886. Several remains of burials under the church floor were found then. Lars Ovesen made the church pulpit and altarpiece in 1685. Rokke church has one Olav Statue from the 1300s and three figures of saints.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Halden, 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

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

Rødenes Church

Rødenes church was built in c. 1230 and it underwent an extensive restoration in 1703-1709. It was privately owned from 1729-1849 before moved to the municipality. Altarpiece dates from the 1720s and was given by Chr. Hansen Sarpsborg, who was commander of Basmo fortress.
Founded: c. 1230 | Location: Ørje, Norway

Byneset Church

Byneset Church is a medieval church consecrated to the saint Michael. The year consecration is not exactly known, but it is assumed that it was about 1180. The same mason signatures are also found at the Nidaros Cathedral, indicating that the same masons were used in the construction of both churches. The church is built in a Romanesque style and it is a stone 'long church'. The tower was built around 1650. In 1656, a 'we ...
Founded: c. 1180 | Location: Spongdal, Norway

St. Hallvard's Cathedral

St. Hallvard"s Cathedral (Hallvardskatedralen), the former Oslo Cathedral, was the earliest cathedral in Oslo. The cathedral was built at the height of the Old Town market square Oslo during the early 12th century, and was used as a church until about 1655. Besides being the bishop"s seat and religious center of eastern Norway for about 500 years, the cathedral was the coronation church, royal wedding church, ch ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Oslo, Norway

Holdhus Church

Holdhus Church was originally built in 1306 and enlarged in 1725 and 1836. The most valuable item in the church is a Madonna sculpture, made of limestone in 1450s. The pulpit dates from 1570.
Founded: 1306 | Location: Eikelandsosen, 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

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

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

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

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

Hedal Stave Church

The first reference to the Hedal Stave Church is from 1327. The original church was a much smaller single nave church built second half of 12th century. The west entrance remains from the original church. The front portal is one of the oldest, most richly ornamented and among the most beautiful in the whole country. It takes the form of three winged dragons, one on each side of the arch and pilasters of the entrance and o ...
Founded: c. 1160 | Location: Sør-Aurdal, Norway

Ranem Church

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

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

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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Royal Palace of Aranjuez

Palacio Real de Aranjuez is a former Spanish royal residence. It was established around the time Philip II of Spain moved the capital from Toledo to Madrid. Aranjuez became one of four seasonal seats of government, occupied during the springtime (from about holy week). Thereafter, the court moved successively to Rascafría, El Escorial and wintered in Madrid. Aranjuez Cultural Landscape is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After the Christian conquest, Aranjuez was owned by the Order of Santiago and a palace was built for its Grand Masters where the Royal Palace stands today. When the Catholic Monarchs assumed the office of Grand Master of the Order of Santiago, Aranjuez became part of the Royal estate. This fertile land, located between the Tajo and Jarama Rivers, was converted into the Spanish monarchy's most lavish country retreat: during Spain's Golden Age, Aranjuez became a symbol for the perfection of nature by mortal hands, as El Escorial was for art.

Such excellence was based on strong Renaissance foundations, as Charles V envisaged this inherited estate as a large Italian-inspired villa, a desire continued by Philip II who appointed Juan Bautista de Toledo to design leafy avenues that ran through the gardens and farming land. A series of dams was constructed in the 16th century to control the course of the Tajo River and create a network of irrigation canals.

The splendour of the estate was only enhanced by the Bourbon monarchs, who would spend the whole spring, from Easter to July, at the Palace. Phillip V added new gardens and Ferdinand VI designed a new system of tree-lined streets and created a small village within the estate, which was further developed by Charles III and Charles IV. As Ferdinand VII and Isabella II continued to visit Aranjuez during the spring, the splendour of this site was maintained until 1870.

The Royal Palace, built by Phillip II on the site of the old palace of the Grand Masters of Santiago, was designed by the architect Juan Bautista de Toledo –under whom construction began in 1564– and later Juan Herrera, who only managed to finish half the project. Although glimpses of the original layout still remain, the building itself is more characteristic of the classicism favoured by the Hapsburg monarchs, with alternating white stone and brick. The original design was continued by Phillip V in 1715 but not finished until 1752 under Ferdinand VI. The rectangular layout that Juan Bautista de Toledo had planned, and that took two centuries to complete, was only maintained for 20 years, since in 1775 Charles III added two wings onto the Palace.

Real Casa del Labrador

As the Prince of Asturias, Charles IV was a frequent visitor to the pier pavilions built by Ferdinand VI and grew up playing in the Prince’s Garden. When he became King, he decided to build a new country house at the far end of these gardens, known as the Casa del Labrador (the labourer's house) due to its modest exterior that was designed to heavily contrast the magnificent internal decor. It was built by chief architect Juan de Villanueva and his pupil Isidro González Velázquez, who designed some of the interior spaces. These rooms, developed in various stages until 1808, are the greatest example of the lavish interior decor favoured by this monarch in his palaces and country retreats. Highlights at this Site include the combination of different types of art and the luxurious textiles, in particular the silks from Lyon, as well as wealth of original works on the main floor, where Ferdinand VII added various paintings and landscapes by Brambilla.

King's Garden, the Island Garden, Parterre Garden and the Prince's Garden

Phillip II, a great lover of gardens, paid special attention to this feature of the Aranjuez Palace: during his reign, he maintained both the Island Garden, designed by the architect Juan Bautista de Toledo, and the King's Garden, immediately adjacent to the Palace and whose current layout was designed by Philip IV. The majority of the fountains on this island were commissioned by Phillip IV, while the Bourbons added other features such as the Charles III benches.

Phillip V made two French-style additions to the existing gardens: the Parterre Garden in front of the palace and the extension at the far end of the Island Garden, known as the Little Island, where he installed the Tritons Fountain that was later moved to the Campo del Moro park by Isabella II.

The Prince's Garden owes its name and creation to the son and heir of Charles III who, in the 1770s, began to use Ferdinand VI's old pier for his own enjoyment. He also created a landscaped garden in the Anglo-French style that was in fashion at the time and which was directly influenced by Marie Antoinette's gardens at the Petit Trianon. Both Juan de Villanueva and Pablo Boutelou collaborated in the design of this garden.