Selje Abbey was founded in about 1100 and was dedicated to Saint Alban. At the time of the abbey's foundation the island of Selje was an important Christian site. It was the location of the original shrine of Saint Sunniva, who was believed to have been martyred here, and for that reason was a place of pilgrimage, and also the seat of a bishopric and a cathedral dedicated to Saint Michael, established about 1070. The bishop was instrumental in the establishment of the monastery here, and throughout its history there remained a strong connection between the abbey and the bishopric. However, the bishop moved to Bergen shortly after the monastery was founded, although the shrine of Saint Sunniva did not leave the island for Bergen until about 1170. After that time the monastery remained here alone.
For the first two centuries of its existence it was a thriving and important centre, but a disastrous fire in 1305 gave the abbey a blow from which it never recovered. It is not clear to what extent the monastery was rebuilt. The small remaining community may have been wiped out by the Black Death in 1349, although there is a possibility that some sort of monastic community still existed on the island as late as 1451. If there was, it came to an end under Bishop Finnboge of Bergen (1461-1474), who dismissed the last abbot and took over the abbey estates for the use of the See of Bergen; an appeal to the Pope to divert them instead to the use of Nidarholm Abbey came to nothing.
The island site is spectacular, and because of the lack of later habitation and construction the ruins, not only of the abbey but of the old shrine of Saint Sunniva and of the cathedral, are extensive and extremely well preserved.The artist Bernt Tunold spent his childhood and some of his adult life on the island, and often painted the monastery ruins.References:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.