Tórshavn Cathedral is the second oldest existing church of the Faroe Islands. Painted white, and roofed with slate, it was erected in 1788. Since 1990 it has been the seat of the bishop of the Faroes and is therefore known as a cathedral.
The early history of the church is quite complicated. To all appearances there was no church in the strict sense in Tórshavn in the Middle Ages, only perhaps a 'prayer house'. It has been suggested that services were held in the Munkastovan in Tinganes. It was only in 1609, that a proper church was built on Tinganes. In 1780 Rasmus Jørgen Winther became minister in Tórshavn and in 1782 seized the initiative to build a new church. However it was only in 1788 that Johannes Poulsen, to the building master in Torshavn. The church of Christian IV was demolished in 1798 following the consecration of the new church, and the timber was sold at an auction. Part of the furniture was transferred to the new church.
Though it completely changed the appearance of the church, the rebuilding in 1865 seems in fact to have only marginally affected the structural parts of the 1788 church. The church has on the whole preserved its structure from 1865. In 1935, however, the choir was extended by four metres and a new sacristy was built. The choir was also extended with an office and other secondary rooms in 1968. The nave itself contains 44 benches, the gallery 14.
The altarpiece from 1647 is fitted on the north wall of the nave, with a painting of the Last Supper and the words of institution. It is a rather simple piece of work from the late Renaissance with a central section flanked by degenerated pilasters, pedestal section and a small top section. The painting of the central section, the Last Supper, belongs to the large group of Danish 17th-century paintings derived from the painting of the Last Supper by Peter Candid – the Court painter to Wilhelm V – for the Franciscan house in Munich and popularised through prints by Sandeler. It was restored in 1961 by Ernst and Holmer Trier together with the local painter Fraser Eysturoy.
The bell is said to have been acquired in 1708. It originates from the ship 'Norske Löve' (Norwegian Lion), which went down in Lambavík on New Year's Eve, 1707.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.