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 1800.
20 April 1944, during World War II, the church was once again destroyed when the German ship exploded in Vågen leaving large parts of Bergen in ruins. The reconstruction followed the plans of the church built after the fire in 1756, including the spire called for in these plans but not built. Johan Joachim Reichborn is the architect.The church has 750 seats, somewhat less than before 1944. The great majority are in high-sided box pews, although there are also some painted wooden benches, more suitable for children.
The church is informally known as 'the Children's Church' following the desire of a former Bishop of Bergen to develop this use. In consequence the interior has been largely decorated by local children. These decorations include hand-painted icons, hanging mobiles, and large paintings that have been set into double-glazing panels to form a satined glass effect at every window in the main church building.
The 'Baptismal Angel' is a massive carved angel which descends from the ceiling of the church by means of a pulley system, bearing in its hand the bowl for infant baptsms. The original was donated in 1794 in memory of Heinrich Pütter, but was destroyed in the 1944 explosion. The replacement was donated by Bergen Cathedral, who had always been the owners of the matching angel, but kept it unused in storage. The mechanism for the angel is now electrically operated.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.