Nidaros Cathedral

The Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim (old name of the city of Nidaros ) is one of the most important churches in Norway, he is regarded as a national shrine. It was the cathedral of the Norwegian archdiocese, which was founded in 1152. Because of the Shrine of the Holy Olaf was here behind the high altar of the cathedral was also known as the " Heart Norway ". After the Reformation it was the cathedral of the Lutheran bishops of Trondheim. In the Middle Ages, and from 1818 to 1906 the Nidaros Cathedral was the coronation site of the kings of Norway. Here seven kings were crowned and buried ten. Coronations not take place here.

South of Nidaros Cathedral, the Archbishop's Palace closes at.


The cathedral was built on the tomb of King Olav Haraldsson, who fell in the battle of Stiklestad 1030. When he was canonized a year after his death, began a stream of pilgrims to his grave. Shortly afterwards a small wooden chapel was built over the tomb.

King Olav III. Kyrre in 1070 was replaced by a stone church, the chapel, which was completed in 1090. 1152 has been a significant increase in the church. It was up to the year 1300 repeatedly rebuilt and expanded.

In several fires in 1328, 1432 and 1531, the church was severely damaged. After the fire in 1531, only the apse was rebuilt due to lack of funding. 1708 the church burned down then up on the ground. Even before the reconstruction was completed in 1719 proposed the flash, and the subsequent fire destroyed the church again.

The Nidaros Cathedral was in the 1840s in a very bad condition. When it was discovered that one of the pillars of the cathedral was going to collapse within itself, the Church Ministry ( Kirkedepartementet ) searched desperately for a solution to stop the decline. The then 27 -year-old Heinrich Ernst Schirmer was commissioned around 1841, to make investigations and studies of restoration and repair of the Nidaros Cathedral. Schirmer's initial reconstruction plans were initially rejected for cost reasons, but by its strong commitment to the project and the continued deterioration of the building the subject in the coming decades in Norway gained strong popularity. 1859 Schirmer presented together with the historian Peter Andreas Munch exhibitions in several boards with plans to rebuild the cathedral, where he met with great attention. This led despite pecuniary bottlenecks in 1869 to the beginning of a transmitted through Schirmer basic reconstruction of Nidarosdomes. However, his artistic plans for the restoration met with harsh criticism by proponents of an archaeological reconstruction. Since almost all historical models were missing, the reconstruction was based largely on speculation.

In 1872 it was replaced by the cathedral architect Christian Christie, who directed the construction until his death in 1906. By Christie promised to use in the reconstruction improvement in this respect, yet the cathedral according to the concept of its predecessor Schirmer was further reconstructed. Under Christie's director and primary responsibility, the restoration of the choir, the octagon of the Dome, the superstructure of the nave and the lower parts of the western nave were promoted at this time. He wrote some preliminary studies for the reconstruction of Nidarosdomes in the Gothic style, which also came in part for. Christie but also reviewed thoroughly the usefulness of available archaeological material in contrast to his predecessors to bring the building closer to the original historical and reconstruct these parts by the church on a fairly solid base. It was his main goal, to bring the reconstruction of the Nidaros Cathedral back to its original Gothic and Romanesque form. For this reason, he had systematically all recent additions, including the later added octagonal baroque helmet of the church tower to remove. Christie's careful and precise work in the reconstruction of his time received wide recognition in professional circles, even though by today's standards his approach is regarded as insensitive and somewhat coarse.

Despite all this, the reconstruction of the Nidorasdomes under Christie remained in his time not without criticism, as well as Schirmer lacked reliable sources and archaeological material for an appropriate reconstruction. Christie was oriented in the reconstruction of the theses of the French architect Eugène Viollet -le- Duc and the British Giles Gilbert Scott. These represented the principle of stylistic unity, which has already been criticized at the time Christies, because as " restored " buildings could end up in a state they never had before. When Nidaros Cathedral, this meant the destruction of valuable architectural parts from the 16th, 17th and early 19th century, the style did not fit the reconstruction after Christie's opinion.

Shortly after the reconstruction and completion of the main tower in 1903 critical voices came again to his work as architect of the Cathedral. It was especially criticized that was reconstructed based on low on his architectural considerations, including the height of the church tower, and he did not consider in the design enough to archaeological evidence. According to his plans, the new characteristic copper spire was built in 1901 on the main tower of the cathedral, also without proper historical foundations. Christie also developed the blueprints for the new construction of the west front of the cathedral, but was discarded after his death. Due to the growing criticism of his actions at the Nidaros Cathedral in 1905 it should be dismissed as cathedral architect. However, the debates to retreated to the length and it came before his death, no final decision. Christie could thereby continue the restoration work on the cathedral until his death in 1906.

After his death, the Norwegian architect Henrik Bull and were later entrusted Olaf Nordhagen to rebuild. The reconstruction of Nidarosdomes by Schirmer's concept was, with several breaks and re-planning, until 2001 officially ended.

Building Description

The entire building has the dimensions of 102 meters long, 50 meters wide (including the transept ) and is in the vault top 21 meters high. It is divided into the Gothic nave with the towers (built in 1140-1180 and 1220-1240; repaired in 1328 ), in the Romanesque transept chapel (built 1140-1180 ), the sacristy ( a northern farming from the time 1170-118 ), the octagon (built 1183-1210 ) and the nave with the Western Front (built 1248-1320 ). About the construction of a cathedral, three towers, two twin -like over the west choir and a centrally above the crossing charge. Six portals allow access to the Cathedral.

In the crypt there are three chapels, which are normally not accessible to visitors. These are the Lady Chapel, the Olaf Chapel and the Chapel of St Michael.


The material for the facades of jewelery is soapstone. As the scene of the cathedral, the west facade is true in High Gothic style after English models (such as Westminster Abbey ). After the severe destruction in the 19th century were obtained from the former about 40 decorative statues only five. The redesign was done in 1929 as a cassette facade with a myriad of new statues representing the people and stories from the Old Testament artistic.

Interior design and furnishing

The ships of the church are supported by ribbed vaults. The octagon on the east side of the cathedral has been preserved almost unchanged since the 12th century and thus is considered most authentic part of the Nidaros Cathedral. It is formed in the interior of jewelry arcades without load-bearing function and contains reliefs and stone figures in a very naturalistic style. In this apse (outer diameter 18 m, internal diameter 10 meters) was the shrine of King Olav Haraldsson, Saint Olaf kept.

Inside the church there are still a pulpit from 1890, two Pools - one from 1728 by Jon Jensen, the second from 1905 by Gustav Vigeland, as well as an altarpiece.

The stained glass windows made ​​Gabriel Kielland (1908-1934) and Oddmund Kristiansen (1950-1985), inspired by the illustrations of French models such as the Cathedral of Chartres. They provide, among other things, the legend of King Olav Haraldsson and Bible scenes dar. It was controversial in the reconstruction if get into the gable window color and as ever the Western Front is to be made. After an art competition, the Norwegian Parliament finally approved the implementation of the new design plans.


Wagner-/Migendt-Orgel 1741

The older of the two organs was made in 1741 by Joachim Wagner and built by his pupil Johann Peter Migendt. The baroque instrument is obtained largely original, and in 1994 was extensively restored. The instrument has 30 stops on two manuals and pedal.

  • Koppel: manual coupler
  • Accessories: three -return valves, Tremulant, beat, Zimbelstern, Calkantenglocke

Steinmeyer organ of 1930

The main organ is from the company Steinmeyer and was built in 1930 on the occasion of the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Stiklestad. In 1960 it was converted into the western part of the church, while massive changes, including were also whistling away. By 2014, it is by Kuhn Organ Builders Ltd restauriert.Das instrument currently has 125 speaking stops, 12 transmitted registers and two effect register.


The Nidaros Cathedral is an active parish church for the parish in Trondheim. His organs are also used for concerts. There are a total of five choirs; the eight-voice boys choir ( Nidarosdomens Guttekor ), whose repertoire ranges from Gregorian chant to contemporary compositions, is the oldest of Norway and takes next to regular appearances in worship and concert tours throughout Europe and North America. For tourists from around the world guided tours take place.

See also: List of cathedrals and domes