Nonneseter Abbey Chapel

Bergen, Norway

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 the nuns were ejected for immoral and unseemly behavior and the buildings were transferred to the Hospital Brothers of St. Anthony, but the monastery was secularized in 1528, and the premises were converted into a private fortified residence, under the name of Lungegården, by the new proprietor, Vincens Lunge.

The surviving buildings were mostly destroyed by a fire in 1891, and of the monastic buildings there remains nothing to be seen. Of the abbey church there survived the base of the west tower, and the Nonneseter Chapel, originally the south chapel off the choir, which were acquired in 1891 after the fire by the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Norwegian Monuments.

The single story that is left of the west tower, the Tårnfoten ('tower foot'), is near the present Bergen public library, and measures 8.6 meters square. It was originally clad with dressed stone. In the west wall is a portal with a round arch, and in the east wall another, which would have connected to the body of the church. It is now used as a memorial chapel to the fallen of World War II.

The Romanesque tower foot is more old-fashioned in style than the body of the main church apparently was, indicating the possibility that it could have belonged to an older structure predating the arrival of the Cistercians with their characteristic building style.

The church lay to the east of the tower. The original building was quite small, but it seems to have been extended eastwards in the later 13th century with a new choir and choir chapels; it had a single aisle. The graveyard was to the north of the church, and the monastic buildings to the south, but there are too few remains of them to establish the exact layout.

The Nonneseter Chapel (Nonneseter kapell) at Kaigaten 3 is believed to have been one of the choir chapels. It measures about 8 meters by 7 meters, and contains a vaulted ceiling and Gothic arched windows. It dates from around 1250, which seems to be when the church was extended. Between 1951 and 1989 it was used as a church for deaf people. It is now used, among other ways, as a concert hall.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Address

Kaigaten 1B, Bergen, Norway
See all sites in Bergen

Details

Founded: 12th century
Category: Religious sites in Norway

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

User Reviews

Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Derbent Fortress

Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.

Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.

A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.

The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.

The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.

In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.

In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.