Værnes Church, the oldest building in Stjørdal, was built around 1085-1100. It was nearly started at the same time as the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. Under the high roofs the centuries have written their autographs. Pictures of gods and devil´s masks fight ruthlessly about the hegemony in the human soul. The dramaturgy of the Middle Age comes alive in the life- or death battle that unfolds before our eyes on the church walls.
If you lift your eyes even further, towards the roof-truss, you can see the last millennium face to face. Nowhere else in the country you will have such an opportunity to admire the art of carpentry as it was displayed nearly 900 years ago. This is one of the reasons why the Church of Værnes is a familiar name in antiquarian circles on the whole continent. The wooden ceiling is the original from the 12th century, and the only one still in existence. It has a span of more than 11 meters and has been the inspiration for reconstructions of roofs in other medieval buildings in Norway (the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim and Håkonshallen in Bergen).
The Church of Værnes is a cultural treasure, perhaps because the majestic church building gives us a close contact with the mysticism and sentiment of the past. Many people come here to contemplate about the mysteries of life - great and small. The thoughts wander among the beams under the roof, casting curious glances at the 'Værnes Chair', made in 1685 as the private pew for the squire of Værnes (General Schultz and his wife). This chair shows us a mastery in wood carving that amazes everyone with its perfectionism and richness in details. Fine wall paintings, stone figures and runic inscriptions are also found in the church.References:
The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.