THE WORLD’S NORTHERNMOST GOTHIC CATHEDRAL

Nidaros Cathedral

In the heart of Trondheim, lies the Nidaros Cathedral – a richly decorated gothic masterpiece.

The cathedral is built over the tomb of St. Olav, the Viking king who brought Christianity to Norway. In the Middle Ages, a silver coffin with St. Olav’s remains was placed on the high altar of the cathedral. However, during the reformation, the shrine was sent to Denmark to be converted into silver coins and Olav’s remains were buried in a secret place in the cathedral. To this day, no one knows exactly where.

Work began in 1070, and the cathedral was completed around 1300. After several fires and a lack of maintenance in the Middle Ages, the cathedral was in very poor condition. In 1869 extensive restorations were begun, and today the cathedral is again restored to its original grandeur.

Still, 30 craftsmen are working on various restoration projects in the cathedral. The myth says that when Nidaros Cathedral is completely finished, the city will be hit by a mudslide and the cathedral will sink into the fjord. But the cathedral will probably never be finished. Restoring a cathedral of this size is a work of eternity. (But to be on the safe side, sculptor Odd Hilt has created a sculpture of a mason holding a stone in his hand. The sculpture ensures that the cathedral is never fully complete, and thus that the myth never comes true.

Trondheim (or Nidaros as the city was formerly called) was the most important destination for pilgrimage in Northern Europe in the Middle Ages. Pilgrims came from far and near to visit the grave of St. Olav. Today, the pilgrimage tradition is brought back to life, and pilgrims are again traveling to Nidaros Cathedral.

Nidaros Cathedral is the world’s northernmost gothic medieval cathedral. A visit to the cathedral is different depending on the season. In fall and winter, it’s easy to be captivated by the thousands of sculptures and ornaments in soapstone, which give the cathedral a mysterious expression in the dark season. In spring and summer you can experience a wonderful light inside the cathedral, as the sun shines through the colourful stained glass rose window.

The Leading Lady of the City

In summer, the cathedral’s main tower is open for visitors. The way up to the tower goes through dark, narrow hallways and up steep stairs – 172 steps. But it’s worth it! From the top, you can enjoy spectacular views of the city.

Nidaros Cathedral is the world’s northernmost gothic medieval cathedral. A visit to the cathedral is different depending on the season. In fall and winter, it’s easy to be captivated by the thousands of sculptures and ornaments in soapstone, which give the cathedral a mysterious expression in the dark season. In spring and summer you can experience a wonderful light inside the cathedral, as the sun shines through the colourful stained glass rose window. In summer, the cathedral’s main tower is open for visitors. The way up to the tower goes through dark, narrow hallways and up steep stairs – 172 steps. But it’s worth it! From the top, you can enjoy a great view of the city.

Nidarosdomen historie