Architecture For Eternity
Right in the heart of Trondheim is the Nidaros Cathedral. Norway’s national sanctuary is a richly decorated Gothic masterpiece. You quickly enter the universe of the Game of Thrones here if you are interested in that!
Foto: Søderholm – Steen / trondelag.com
In many ways, the cathedral summarises the entire history of Norway throughout 1,000 years. It was built on the burial site of Olav the Holy after the Battle of Stiklestad – the battle for the Christianisation of Norway. A chapel in 1030, it has later been added to, demolished, rebuilt and restored numerous times according to finances, leadership and fires
Right in the heart of historic Trondheim, surrounded by a beautiful cemetery and park winding along the river, is the Nidaros Cathedral.
Foto: Mykola Ksenofontov
Right beside the cathedral is the Archbishop’s Palace, which houses a museum conveying the fascinating history of the archbishopric, feudal overlord and military periods. At the Archbishop’s Palace, we can see Norway’s Crown Regalia – the royal crowns, sceptres and swords covering many years.
Nidaros Cathedral is a photo-friendly building. Go on a treasure hunt for ornaments and figures along the impressive facade. You will find grotesque animal-like figures and human statues. On the West Front, which is the cathedral’s main entrance, the entire wall is filled with statues of saints.
If you have binoculars, try to spot Bob Dylan’s face on one of the statues. This happened when the statue required restoration in the late 1960s. The stonemason responsible for the face saw his chance for a silent protest. He marked the fight against nuclear weapons, armament and war by modelling the face of the archangel on the American protest singer Bob Dylan. The statue stands at the very top of the northern tower.
Foto: grim berge
Foto: Mykola Ksenofontov
The cathedral is built over the tomb of St. Olav, the Viking King, who became the patron saint of Norway. Work on the cathedral was started in 1070 by King Olav III and was completed around 1300. The cathedral is under continuous restoration to preserve the virtually infinite details of the architecture.
The mythology and culture surrounding St. Olav led to the cathedral quickly becoming the most important sanctuary of the Catholic Church in Northern Europe. Pilgrims from across Europe have walked to Nidaros – the old name of Trondheim – for centuries and to this day it’s one of Europe’s main historical pilgrim destinations. The Nidaros Cathedral is Norway’s national sanctuary and the site of coronations and royal blessings.
Architecturally, the Nidaros Cathedral Nidaros is the world’s northernmost Gothic cathedral. Built of greenish and grey soapstone, the foundations were laid by Archbishop Eystein Erlandsson who was inspired by the Canterbury Cathedral in England. The most striking feature of Norway’s mighty cathedral is the West Front, featuring the great Rose Window depicting the Day of Judgement, and the 76 statues and reliefs on the western wall.
Restoration and reconstruction of the cathedral has taken place continuously for more than 130 years and is an ongoing project. The major restoration project currently underway is the royal entranceway on the southern side of the cathedral. When you visit the cathedral, you can also delve into the history and details of the architecture and the continuous work of the buildings and artistic decorations.
As well as being used for religious events for the city’s churchgoers, the Nidaros Cathedral hosts concerts and other cultural activities. Curious visitors can spend hours exploring the decorations and details, large and small, inside as well as outside. The highlight for many is climbing the 172 steps of the cathedral tower and enjoying the spectacular views of Trondheim.
Right beside the Nidaros Cathedral is the Archbishop’s Palace. Together the buildings play a central role in Norway’s history. Ever since the late 12th century, the Archbishop’s Palace has been a meeting place for powerful men and a venue for important meetings and grand parties.
From the mid of the 12th century until the Reformation in 1537, the Archbishop’s Palace was the residence of the Archbishop of Nidaros. No less than 27 archbishops have lived here. After the Reformation, ownership passed to the King and Danish feudal overlords took over the palace and ruled it on behalf of the King in Copenhagen. The building is now home to the Archbishop’s Palace Museum, the Armory and Resistance Museum and the Crown Regalia featuring the Norwegian crown jewels.
Foto: Tom Gustavsen / Visit Trondheim
Foto: Runa Eggen / trondelag.com
The Nidaros Cathedral is open to the public every day of the year. During the summer seasons, guided tours are offered daily in Norwegian, English, German and French. In summer, it’s also possible to climb the tower and enjoy a wonderful view of the city.
Archbishop Palace Museum
The Archbishop’s Palace Museum houses the most spectacular finds from the archaeological excavations in the 1980s.
The Crown Regalia
The King’s crown and other items that make up the Regalia of Norway are displayed in the west wing of the Archbishop’s Palace.