Hegge Stave Church

Øystre Slidr, Norway

The first recorded reference to the Hegge stave church is from 1327. Dendrochronological dating of some of the logs in the church, however, indicates that the church was built around 1216. It is a basilica type church with 8 free-standing interior columns forming an arcade, surrounding a central area with a raised roof. A runic inscription on the church reads: Erling Arnson wrote these runes.

The lower story of the bell tower is wider than the upper one. It is built apart from the church. The baptismal font is externally decorated with ornaments of knots, trees, human figures, and stars. A vestment at the church, made of coarse linen dates from 1686, and a painting of Isaac's Sacrifice was presented to the church in 1643.

After the Protestant Reformation, ridge turrets were raised, which changed the external appearances. In 1706 and in 1712, some repair work repairs were made on the church. The altar-piece was carved by a local artist in 1780. Major repair was carried out in 1924, under the leadership of architect Arnstein Arneberg, who later conducted extensive renovation of theHamar Cathedral.

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Steinvikholm Castle

Steinvikholm Castle is an island fortress built between 1525 to 1532 by Norway's last Catholic archbishop, Olav Engelbrektsson. Steinvikholm castle became the most powerful fortification by the time it was built, and it is the largest construction raised in the Norwegian Middle Ages.

The castle occupies about half of the land on the rocky island. The absence of a spring meant that fresh water had to be brought from the mainland. A wooden bridge served as the only way to the island other than boat. Although the castle design was common across Europe in 1525, its medieval design was becoming obsolete because of the improved siege firepower offered by gunpowder and cannons.

The castle was constructed after Olav Engelbrektsson returned from a meeting with the Pope in Rome, presumably in anticipation of impending military-religious conflict. As Archbishop Engelbrektsson's resistance to the encroachment of Danish rule escalated, first with Frederick I of Denmark and his successor Christian III of Denmark, Steinvikholm Castle and Nidarholm Abbey became the Catholic Church's military strongholds in Norway. In April 1537, the Danish-Norwegian Reformation succeeded in driving the archbishop from the castle into exile in Lier in the Netherlands (now in Belgium), where he died on 7 February 1538. At the castle the archbishop left behind St. Olav's shrine and other treasures from Nidaros Cathedral (Trondheim). The original coffin containing St. Olav's body remained at Steinvikholm until it was returned to Nidaros Cathedral in 1564. Since 1568 St. Olav's grave in Nidaros has been unknown.

From the 17th to 19th century, the island was used as a quarry and some of its masonry was sold and removed from the site. This activity was condoned by the Danish-Norwegian authorities as a way of eliminating a monument to the opposition of the Danish–Norwegian Union.

Steinvikholm fort is owned and operated today by The society for the Preservation of Norwegian Ancient Monuments. The island has been the site of the midnight opera which details the life and struggles of the archbishop. The opera is held in August annually. The opera is organized by Steinvikholm Musikkteater since the beginning in 1993.