Sankt Ols Kirke (St Olaf's Church), also known as Olsker Church, is a 12th century round church located in the village of Olsker. Built in the Romanesque style and reaching three storeys high, it has from the beginning consisted of a round nave, a choir and an apse.
The church was named after the revered King Olaf II of Norway who fell at the Battle of Stiklestad in 1030. The church first belonged to the Archbishopric of Lund, then came under the Danish crown at the time of the Reformation. In the 19th century, it became fully independent.
The highest of Bornholm's four round churches, rising 13 metres from its base to the top of the conical roof, the church is built of local granite fieldstone with limestone door frames. Standing on a hilltop at a height of 112 meters above sea level, it was built as a stronghold to defend the surrounding area. The openings in the wall on the upper storey were designed for shooting or throwing stones at the enemy. There was also a platform with a parapet which was used for defensive purposes. The church was also equipped with a hanging gallery, supported on beams projecting from the walls of the round tower.
The structure consists of a barrel vault and a central column bearing the upper floors. The height of the cylindrical nave, 13 metres, is almost exactly the same as that of Østerlars Church. There are small extensions from the nave into the small choir and tiny apse. The central column provides solid support for the first two storeys but is more slender in the loft where it bears the more recent roofing. The porch is probably medieval while the two buttresses to the west were added in 1825 to guard against collapse. The bell tower dates from the end of the 18th century. Restoration work was carried out in 2004 by Nils-Holger Larsen.
During restoration work in 1911 and 1950–52, frescoes were discovered in the nave and choir from at least three different periods, the oldest from the 14th century. They were however in very poor condition, especially in the nave. The early Renaissance pulpit dates from the first half of the 16th century. In the 18th century, it was decorated with paintings of the evangelists and angels. The fairly recent oak gallery is unpainted. The new organ was built by Axel Starup.References:
Kirkjubøargarður ('Yard of Kirkjubøur', also known as King"s Farm) is one of the oldest still inhabited wooden houses of the world. The farm itself has always been the largest in the Faroe Islands. The old farmhouse dates back to the 11th century. It was the episcopal residence and seminary of the Diocese of the Faroe Islands, from about 1100. Sverre I of Norway (1151–1202), grew up here and went to the priest school. The legend says, that the wood for the block houses came as driftwood from Norway and was accurately bundled and numbered, just for being set up. Note, that there is no forest in the Faroes and wood is a very valuable material. Many such wood legends are thus to be found in Faroese history.
The oldest part is a so-called roykstova (reek parlour, or smoke room). Perhaps it was moved one day, because it does not fit to its foundation. Another ancient room is the loftstovan (loft room). It is supposed that Bishop Erlendur wrote the 'Sheep Letter' here in 1298. This is the earliest document of the Faroes we know today. It is the statute concerning sheep breeding on the Faroes. Today the room is the farm"s library. The stórastovan (large room) is from a much later date, being built in 1772.
Though the farmhouse is a museum, the 17th generation of the Patursson Family, which has occupied it since 1550, is still living here. Shortly after the Reformation in the Faroe Islands in 1538, all the real estate of the Catholic Church was seized by the King of Denmark. This was about half of the land in the Faroes, and since then called King"s Land (kongsjørð). The largest piece of King"s Land was the farm in Kirkjubøur due to the above-mentioned Episcopal residence. This land is today owned by the Faroese government, and the Paturssons are tenants from generation to generation. It is always the oldest son, who becomes King"s Farmer, and in contrast to the privately owned land, the King"s Land is never divided between the sons.
The farm holds sheep, cattle and some horses. It is possible to get a coffee here and buy fresh mutton and beef directly from the farmer. In the winter season there is also hare hunting for the locals. Groups can rent the roykstovan for festivities and will be served original Faroese cuisine.
Other famous buildings directly by the farmhouse are the Magnus Cathedral and the Saint Olav"s Church, which also date back to the mediaeval period. All three together represent the Faroe Island"s most interesting historical site.