Nidaros Cathedral: The Masterpiece of Norwegian Architecture


Nidaros Cathedral is an architectural masterpiece of unusual beauty in Trondheim that reflects the mixture of Romanesque and Gothic styles. Being built 1000 years ago, it is considered Norway’s most important meeting-house, where coronation process is still present and thousands of tourists come from all over the world.

Nidaros Cathedral was named after the city. While the cathedral was being built, Trondheim was known as Nidaros (in Norwegian it means The estuary located nearby). The cathedral itself was built in honour of St. Olav who was then Viking leader and a king of the country. Soon after his death in Trondheim battle (1030), the constructions of Nidaros Cathedral began and were finished after hundred years. The meeting-house had become very popular among the pilgrims back then. Over the centuries, the cathedral had been damaged by fire several times and the major parts of it had been derelict until 1869. Only then the large-scale reconstructions took place and helped an old cathedral turn into a real architectural masterpiece.

The Western Façade

The main and most fascinating part of Nidaros Cathedral is called the Western Façade. It is enormous gothic wall with two chapels, decorated with expressive ornamentation and statues. Until the beginning of restoration in 1869 there were only 5 statues left inside the façade. Now they are exhibited in the museum of archbishop palace. When restoration took place, the old statues were changed into the new ones. Now they represent disciples, saints and angels and are described in details in the tour guide of this church. The restoration of the façade took place from 1901 until 1969 and the last statue saw the light in 1983 only.

The Rose Window

The Rose window is a part of the Western façade that meets one’s eye first. It was built in 1930 to mark the anniversary of Saint Olav’s death that took place 900 years ago. The oval window reaching 8m diameter, consists of more than 10 000 colourful details, symbolizing the Jesus Christ and the Judgment day. The blue and red colours dominate in the window. In the centre you can see the figure of the Jesus Christ surrounded by 16 angels that are singing and are feeling joyful.

The Chapel of St. John

The oldest part of Nidaros Cathedral is the chapel of Saint John. As stated on the scrimshaw, it is existent since 1161, 26th of November. The main detail of the chapel is the marble altar. It was created by artist Harald Wårvik and saw the light for the first time in 1985. The chapel itself was dedicated for two saints: St. John who was one of the 12 apostles and the author of John’s evangel as well as Saint Sylvester who was 33rd supreme pontiff. During the years of his authority, the citizens of Rome were given the freedom of religion.

While visiting Trondheim, we would highly suggest you to admire the beauty of this meeting-house. It is located within walking distance and, obviously, can be reached using public transport or bike rental.

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