Religious sites in Norway

St. Edmund's Church

St. Edmund"s Church was built in 1883-84, and is home to the Norwegian congregation of the Church of England. Queen Maud used to visit this church, and there is a bust of her in the church, which otherwise is adorned with stained glass windows. The church has modest size. While churches often dominate their surroundings and towers stretches over neighboring buildings, is this church modestly squeezed between larger ...
Founded: 1883-1884 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Oslo Cathedral

Oslo Cathedral, formerly Our Savior"s Church, is the main church for the Oslo bishopric of the Church of Norway, as well as the parish church for downtown Oslo. The present building dates from 1694-1697. It is the third cathedral in Oslo. The first, Hallvards Cathedral, was built by King Sigurd I of Norway in the first half of the 12th century, and was located by the Old Bishop"s Palace, some 1.5 kilometers east ...
Founded: 1694-1697 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Korskirken

Korskirken is located at the intersection of the streets Kong Oscars gate and Nedre Korskirkeallmenning and dates back to the latter half of the 12th century. The name of the church refers to the True Cross (and not to its cruciform plan), and is usually rendered in English as 'Holy Cross Church'. This is because it was, as one of only a Norwegian churches, in possession of a relic from the True Cross. This relic was late ...
Founded: c. 1181 | Location: Bergen, Norway

St. Paul Catholic Church

Sankt Paul katolske kirke is a Roman Catholic church built in 1870. It is the main church of c. 12000 Catholics in Bergen.
Founded: 1870 | Location: Bergen, Norway

Nidaros Cathedral

Nidaros Cathedral is the most important Christian cathedral in Norway. It was built over the burial site of Saint Olaf, the king of Norway in the 11th century, who became the patron saint of the nation. It is the traditional location for the consecration of the King of Norway and the northernmost medieval cathedral in the world. Nidaros Cathedral was built beginning in 1070 to memorialize the burial place of Olaf II of N ...
Founded: 1070-1300 | Location: Trondheim, Norway

Kulturkirken Jakob

Kulturkirken Jakob (Jakob Church of Culture) was designed by architect Georg Andreas Bull and built in 1880. The altarpiece of the building year by Eilif Peterssen and shows the adoring shepherds. In the porch hangs a relief of the Archangel Michael. The church, with 600 seats, served as the parish church of Jakob parish until 1985, when it was closed by the due to building restoration. The church was reopened in February ...
Founded: 1880 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Tromsø Cathedral

Tromsø Cathedral is the episcopal seat of the Diocese of Nord-Hålogaland in the Church of Norway. This cathedral is notable since it is the only Norwegian cathedral made of wood. The church is built in Gothic revival style, with the church tower and main entrance on the west front. It is probably the northernmost Protestant cathedral in the world. With over 600 seats, it is one of Norway's biggest wooden churches. It or ...
Founded: 1861 | Location: Tromsø, Norway

Stavanger Cathedral

Stavanger Cathedral is Norway's oldest cathedral. Bishop Reinald, who may have come from Winchester, is said to have started construction of the Cathedral around 1100. It was finished around 1150, and the city of Stavanger counts 1125 as its year of foundation. The Cathedral was consecrated to Swithin as its patron saint. Saint Swithun was an early Bishop of Winchester and subsequently patron saint of Winchester Cathedral ...
Founded: c. 1100-1150 | Location: Stavanger, Norway

St. Mary's Church

St Mary"s Church (Mariakirken) construction is believed to have started in the 1130s or 40s and completed around 1180, making the church the oldest remaining building in Bergen. St Mary"s Church is the only remaining of twelve churches and three monasteries built in Bergen between its foundation during the reign of Olav Kyrre (1066–93, traditionally 1070) and the end of the twelfth century. Excavations have revealed ...
Founded: 1130s | Location: Bergen, Norway

Our Lady's Church

Our Lady"s Church (Vår Frue kirke) was erected around the year 1200. The victim of many fires, it was restored in 1739, but parts of the thick, solid walls of the Church are obviously much older. The first tower of the church was built around 1640, but the current tower was built in 1742 and the spire was erected in 1779. However, the eastern part of church (to the right in the picture) is identical to the &apo ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Trondheim, Norway

Nonneseter Abbey Chapel

Nonneseter Abbey is first recorded by name in 1262, but certainly founded many years earlier, possibly in or about 1150. It was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The nuns apparently belonged to the Cistercian Order, although this is not confirmed until as late as 1494. It seems probable that a hospital run by the nuns, documented in 1411, was the forerunner of the later St. George's (Sankt Jørgens) lepers' hospital. In 1507 ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bergen, Norway

St. Olav's Cathedral

St. Olav's Cathedral is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oslo. At the time of construction, this church, being built at Hammersborg, near the graveyard of Our Saviour, was located in the countryside outside the then city of Oslo. The work was funded by private donations and fundraising abroad, the most generous individual donor being Queen Josephine, who was a Catholic herself. The first mass of the church ...
Founded: 1896 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Trinity Church

Trinity Church (Trefoldighetskirken) is the third church in Arendal, and all had the same name. Plans to build the present church was adopted by the Arendal town council in 1883. The first church was built in timber in direction east-west. The eastern section was divided into two wings, one was the altar and the king"s chair, the other an organ. The pulpit was placed where the wings meet. The church was consecrated ...
Founded: 1888 | Location: Arendal, Norway

Trinity Church

The Trinity Church (Trefoldighetskirken) is one of the largest churches in Oslo (1000 seats). The church itself is in the raw red brick, while the vaults, arches and small columns have gray scale color. The nave is octagonal with a Greek cross superimposed, with the choir in the apse, shallow transept and rectangular entrance flanked by two slender, octagonal bell towers. A central dome rises above the church. The Trinit ...
Founded: 1858 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Bergen Cathedral

Bergen Cathedral was first time mentioned in 1181. It retains its ancient dedication to St. Olaf. During the reign of king Haakon IV of Norway, a Franciscan friary was established near the church, then known as Olavskirken, or the church of Saint Olaf, which was incorporated in it. The church burned down in 1248 and again in 1270, but was reconstructed after both fires. In 1463, it burned down again, but this time it was ...
Founded: 1181 | Location: Bergen, Norway

St. John's Church

St. John"s Church was built between 1891 and 1894 in the Gothic Revival style. With 1250 seats, it is the largest church in Bergen. In 1888, an architectural contest was conducted for the design of a new church. It was built from drawings by architect, Herman Major Backer (1856–1932). The frescoes in the Church"s ceiling date from 1924 and were completed by Hugo Lous Mohr (1889-1970). The building process ...
Founded: 1891-1894 | Location: Bergen, Norway

Nykirken

Nykirken (literally The new church) is a cruciform church originally built in 1621 on the site of the ruins of the home of the archbishop, a stone building that was built in the 14th century, and was destroyed by fire. The church only stood for two years before it burned down in 1623. It was immediately rebuilt. In 1660 the church was again destroyed by fire and again rebuilt in 1670. Later fires happened in 1756 and in 1 ...
Founded: 1621 | Location: Bergen, Norway

Lom Stave Church

Lom Stave Church is a triple nave stave church that uses free standing inner columns to support a raised section in the ceiling of the main nave. This type of church is amongst the oldest stave churches. The church was first situated in a sub valley to the valley Gudbrandsdal in Oppland County, some 60 kilometers west of Otta. The church dates to approximately second part of 12th century, but was rebuilt into a cruciform ...
Founded: 1158 | Location: Lom, Norway

Grønland Church

Grønland Church was designed by Wilhelm von Hanno and consecrated in 1868. The structure is of brick, in neo-Romanesque style, and has 800 seats.
Founded: 1868 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Paulus Church

Paulus Church was consecrated in 1892. The church is made of brick with a weak front running cross-arms and has about 500 seats. It is inspired by German Gothic style and has a high narrow tower above the entrance, which faces east. The church was designed by the architect Henrik Bull in 1889, and restoration of the church were made in 1917-18 and in 1972. The Church"s altarpiece is in the brown-stained pine with go ...
Founded: 1892 | Location: Oslo, Norway

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle is a Norman castle, founded in 1093. It survived many changes of ownership and is now the largest privately owned castle in Wales. It was the birthplace of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) in 1457.

Pembroke Castle stands on a site that has been occupied at least since the Roman period. Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury founded the first castle here in the 11th century. Although only made from earth and wood, Pembroke Castle resisted several Welsh attacks and sieges over the next 30 years. The castle was established at the heart of the Norman-controlled lands of southwest Wales.

When William Rufus died, Arnulf de Montgomery joined his elder brother, Robert of Bellême, in rebellion against Henry I, William's brother and successor as king; when the rebellion failed, he was forced to forfeit all his British lands and titles. Henry appointed his castellan, but when the chosen ally turned out to be incompetent, the King reappointed Gerald in 1102. By 1138 King Stephen had given Pembroke Castle to Gilbert de Clare who used it as an important base in the Norman invasion of Ireland.

In August 1189 Richard I arranged the marriage of Isabel, de Clare's granddaughter, to William Marshal who received both the castle and the title, Earl of Pembroke. He had the castle rebuilt in stone and established the great keep at the same time. Marshal was succeeded in turn by each of his five sons. His third son, Gilbert Marshal, was responsible for enlarging and further strengthening the castle between 1234 and 1241.

Later de Valence family held Pembroke for 70 years. During this time, the town was fortified with defensive walls, three main gates and a postern. Pembroke Castle became de Valence's military base for fighting the Welsh princes during the conquest of North Wales by Edward I between 1277 and 1295.

Pembroke Castle then reverted to the crown. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle was a place of peace until the outbreak of the English Civil War. Although most of South Wales sided with the King, Pembroke declared for Parliament. It was besieged by Royalist troops but was saved after Parliamentary reinforcements arrived by sea from nearby Milford Haven. Parliamentary forces then went on to capture the Royalist castles of Tenby, Haverfordwest and Carew.

In 1648, at the beginning of the Second Civil War, Pembroke's commander Colonel John Poyer led a Royalist uprising. Oliver Cromwell came to Pembroke on 24 May 1648 and took the castle after a seven-week siege. Its three leaders were found guilty of treason and Cromwell ordered the castle to be destroyed. Townspeople were even encouraged to disassemble the fortress and re-use its stone for their purposes.

The castle was then abandoned and allowed to decay. It remained in ruins until 1880, when a three-year restoration project was undertaken. Nothing further was done until 1928, when Major-General Sir Ivor Philipps acquired the castle and began an extensive restoration of the castle's walls, gatehouses, and towers. After his death, a trust was set up for the castle, jointly managed by the Philipps family and Pembroke town council.

Architecture

The castle is sited on a strategic rocky promontory by the Milford Haven Waterway. The first fortification on the site was a Norman motte-and-bailey. It had earthen ramparts and a timber palisade.

In 1189, Pembroke Castle was acquired by William Marshal. He soon became Lord Marshal of England, and set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive Norman stone castle. The inner ward, which was constructed first, contains the huge round keep with its domed roof. Its original first-floor entrance was through an external stairwell. Inside, a spiral staircase connected its four stories. The keep's domed roof also has several putlog holes that supported a wooden fighting-platform. If the castle was attacked, the hoarding allowed defenders to go out beyond the keep's massive walls above the heads of the attackers.

The inner ward's curtain wall had a large horseshoe-shaped gateway. But only a thin wall was required along the promontory. This section of the wall has a small observation turret and a square stone platform. Domestic buildings including William Marshal's Great Hall and private apartments were within the inner ward. The 13th century keep is 23 metres tall with walls up to 6 metres thick at its base.

In the late 13th century, additional buildings were added to the inner ward, including a new Great Hall. A 55-step spiral staircase was also created that led down to a large limestone cave, known as Wogan Cavern, beneath the castle. The cave, which was created by natural water erosion, was fortified with a wall, a barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo or people could have been transferred.

The outer ward was defended by a large twin-towered gatehouse, a barbican and several round towers. The outer wall is 5 metres thick in places and constructed from Siltstone ashlar.

Although Pembroke Castle is a Norman-style enclosure castle with great keep, it can be more accurately described as a linear fortification because, like the later 13th-century castles at Caernarfon and Conwy, it was built on a rocky promontory surrounded by water. This meant that attacking forces could only assault on a narrow front. Architecturally, Pembroke's thickest walls and towers are all concentrated on its landward side facing the town, with Pembroke River providing a natural defense around the rest of its perimeter.