Hovedøya Abbey Ruins

Oslo, Norway

Hovedøya Abbey was a Cistercian founded on 18 May 1147 by monks from Kirkstead Abbey in England on Hovedøya island, and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Edmund. A church dedicated to Edmund already stood on the island, and the monks took this over as the abbey church, modifying it to meet Cistercian requirements. The rest of the monastery follow a modified Cistercian building plan, to take into account a small local hill. The church itself is built in Romanesque style; the rest of the monastery was presumably Gothic. During the medieval period the abbey was one of the richest institutions in Norway, holding over 400 properties, including a fishery and timber yards.

Political turmoil during the succession to the throne of Denmark-Norway led to the end of the monastery. The abbot, having supported the Protestant King Christian II, possibly in a bid to gain support in the face of the coming Reformation, came into conflict with the commandant of Akershus Fortress, Mogens Gyllenstierne, who ironically had supported the Roman Catholic Prince Frederick I. In 1532 the abbot was thrown into prison for his political involvements, and the abbey was looted and then set ablaze, thus ending 400 years of monastic activity at Hovedøya. Any hope the order might have had in restoring the rich abbey was dashed 4 years later, when the Reformation swept over Denmark-Norway.

The site was later used as a quarry for stone for Akershus Castle. The remaining ruins are nevertheless among the most complete of a medieval Norwegian monastery.

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Address

Hovedøya, Oslo, Norway
See all sites in Oslo

Details

Founded: 1147
Category: Ruins in Norway

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

igor kalcic (16 months ago)
History is always interesting
Axel (2 years ago)
Hmmm meh. It is beautiful, but almost everything in Norge is, I would stop here only if is on your way to somewhere else.
El Vicente (3 years ago)
Atmospheric surroundings. Not much left of the ruins even, so an explanatory map or display would help a lot to fill in the gaps. What there is to be found on the internet is scarce. The tower is nice and has part of s spiral staircase left.
Luke Darkwood (3 years ago)
Nice and quiet place. Always fun for kids to play at. The tower you can climb in is all kids favourite.
Klara Totland (3 years ago)
Well, it's some gosh darn old rocks. In a cool formation. A bit of info here and there.
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