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 originally held about 984 seats, but many benches and seats have been removed over the years to make room for tables in the back of the church.
The structure was completed in 1861, with Christian Heinrich Grosch as the architect. It was built using a cog joint method. It is situated in the middle of the city of Tromsø (on the island of Tromsøya) on a site where in all likelihood there has been a church since the 13th century.
The first church in Tromsø was built in 1252 by King Haakon IV of Norway as a royal chapel. It belonged to the king, therefore, not the Catholic Church. This church is mentioned several times in the Middle Ages as 'St. Mary's near the Heathens' (Sanctae Mariae juxta Pagano).
Not much is known about the previous churches on the site, but it is known that in 1711 a new church was built on this site. That church was replaced in 1803. That church was moved out of the city in 1860 to make way for the building of the present cathedral. The 1803 church building was relocated to an area a few hundred metres south of the city boundary and then in the early 1970s it was moved again to the site of the present Elverhøy Church further up the hills in the city. This church is still there and contains a number of pieces of art that have adorned the churches in Tromsø from the Middle Ages, the oldest of which is a figure of the Madonna, possibly of the 15th century.
The present cathedral was consecrated on 1 December 1861 by the Bishop Carl Peter Essendrop. In 1862 the bell tower was completed and the bell was installed. All of the interior decorations and art were not completed until the 1880s. The cathedral cost about 10,000 Speciedalers to build.
The cathedral interior is dominated by the altar with a copy of the painting Resurrection by the noted artist Adolph Tidemand. Under the picture is a quote from the Gospel of John. Stained glass windows in the front of the church, designed by Gustav Vigeland, were installed in 1960.References:
The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Mezquita is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.
According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd al-Rahman II ordered a new minaret, while in 961 Al-Hakam II enlarged the building and enriched the Mihrab. The last of such reforms was carried out by Almanzor in 987. It was connected to the Caliph"s palace by a raised walkway, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for previous Islamic rulers – as well as Christian Kings who built their palaces adjacent to churches. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and courtyard.
In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral. It was adorned with Santiago de Compostela"s captured cathedral bells. Following a windstorm in 1589, the former minaret was further reinforced by encasing it within a new structure.
The most significant alteration was the building of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the expansive structure. The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. Artisans and architects continued to add to the existing structure until the late 18th century.
The building"s floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large and flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.
In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.
The building is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple that had occupied the site previously, as well as other Roman buildings, such as the Mérida amphitheatre. The double arches were an innovation, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch.