Åre Old Church

Åre, Sweden

Åre Old Church was built in the late 12th century entirely in stone, with inspiration from contemporary Norwegian church buildings, since Jämtland then was a part of Norway. It is situated at the Saint Olaf Pilgrim's Route (S:t Olofleden), and nowadays is the seventeenth stop on the route that goes from Selånger Old Church ruins at Sundsvall, situated at the Gulf of Bothnia, and crosses the Scandinavian Mountains via Stiklestad to the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway — and remains the only stone church in the Scandinavian Mountains from the Middle Ages. Other remaining medieval churches in the Scandinavian Mountains are stave churches situated in Norway.

The original church's interior dimensions were only a mere 5x11 metres, with a choir of 2.5x2.5 metres. There were only three tiny windows, so it was quite a dark church. Preserved medieval artifacts in the church are two ship candlesticks, a processional cross and an unusual wooden statue of Saint Olaf. The statue does not show him as usual with an orb in his left hand and a war axe in his right wearing a crown, but only with an orb in his left hand wearing a tricorne uniform hat of the Caroleans. The wooden statue itself was dated as being from the 14th century, but it can be older.

After centuries of warfare between Denmark–Norway and Sweden, the Second Treaty of Brömsebro made Jämtland a part of Sweden. In 1673 the church had a pulpit installed at the southern church wall according to Norwegian traditions. The baptismal font and gallery at the northern church wall also dates from the end of the 17th century. In 1736 the church was extended almost 12 metres to the west. The old choir was converted into a sacristy, and the new entrance of the church was placed to the west with a porch in stone.

A mighty reredos was added over the new altar depicting the mourning Marys and the crucifixion of Christ in the centre. Higher windows were added as well as the current pews. The characteristical bell tower was erected during the 1750s by Erik Olofsson i Rännberg. It belongs to a group of typical belltowers of the 18th century Jämtland with its onion-shaped cupola.

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Address

Kyrkvägen 8, Åre, Sweden
See all sites in Åre

Details

Founded: 12th century
Category: Religious sites in Sweden
Historical period: Consolidation (Sweden)

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

Interesting Sites Nearby

User Reviews

Mikael Svensson (4 months ago)
Vacker historisk plats
Bengt Skagenhav (4 months ago)
Vacker kyrka som man känner historiens vingslag väl i. Kan rekommendera ett besök där.
Michael Sabatelle (6 months ago)
Gorgeous old church! Use the key hanging outside to open the locked wooden door.
Tom Middleton (3 years ago)
Really lovely church!
Shelly Venema (4 years ago)
This quaint old church is such a beautiful place to visit. Great trust is given to its visitors to unlock and relock the door before and after seeing the inside. It is well worth the time to see.
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Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.