Monday, October 22, 2007

Trondheim - a city of traditions




















Trondheim is more than 1000 years old, and has kept its character as such. Here you find streets (Norwegian "gater"), but also "streter" and "veiter". The latter being one of the many small narrow passages that criss cross the old blocks. Trondheim is packed with history and tradition, and that is what I love to see.

As I left the conference, I had a few hours of daylight left, and I used to time to find traces of the old city. Nearly nothing predates the large fires of 1651 and 1681 that led to a total reconstruction of the city. After 1681 the city plan was designed by Johan Caspar Cicignon, that also designed the old gated city of Old Fredrikstad, that I visited in august.

The Church of Saint Clement (1015)

The oldest remains I found was at this location where a memorial stone close to the conference venue. The small sign on its right side had the following text (translated).

"Just north of this spot were the first known church in Trondheim. It is known to have burnt down in year 1015. According to Snorri (Sturluson) king Olav Haraldsson erected another church here dedicated to Saint Clement. When King Olaf was made a saint in the year 1031 his shrine was placed here. This marks the start of the building of churches in Nidaros culminating with the end of the construction of Nidaros cathedral 300 years later. "

The church dedicated to Saint Clement may have been one of the first churches built in the country, as Olav Haraldssson, or Saint Olaf, was the Norwegian king responsible to christen the Norwegians early in the 11th century.

The Nidaros cathedral and the Archespicopal Palace, are the most remarkable monuments left from the Middle Ages and I will return to them later in a separate article.

Vor Frue Kirke (Church of Our Lady) (1207/1739)

Vor Frue Kirke is located by the central square, and is the best preserved medieval church in Trondheim.

It has been dedicated to Our Lady from the 15th Century, and most of the nave is the original church from the 13th century. It has burned several times and been restored. Some of the old gothic features have been lost through extensive restoration work in the 1880's.

In spite of this, Vor Frue Kirke is a more genuine example of how medieval churches looked like, than even the cathedral, that was heavily restored in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Lately, the church has undergone restoration to prepare its 800th anniversary that will be celebrated in November 2007.

Sankt Jørgen Hus (1607/1616)


Close to the cathedral I found this sign saying:

ST JØRGENS HUUS
STIFTET 1607 af Steen Bille
UTVIDET 1616 af Claus Daae

THE HOUSE OF ST JØRGEN (Saint George)
FOUNDED 1607 by Steen Bille
EXTENDED 1616 by Claus Daae

So this, that used to be a hospital predates the fire of 1651 and 1681. I wonder whether the building is as old?

Hornemansgården (1720/1765/1840)

Hornemangården is a giant wooden complex covering a whole block of central Trondheim. Its oldest parts goes back to the early decades of the 18th century but it has been extended several times until it reached its form and architectural expression in 1840, as the home of the wealthy Horneman family.

Today Hornemangården is the home of a centre for the old, and it gives, with its bright ochre colour, a brilliant contribution to Trondheim torv (Trondheim matkets square), as it is located close to Vor Frue kirke.

If you think Hornemangården is a large building, wait until you see what Madam Schøller constructed close by - one of the largest wooden buildings in the entire country.

Stiftsgården (1774-1778)

Stiftsgården was built by Cecilie Christine von Schøller in the last decades of the 18th century. She inherited, through her husband, chamberlain Stie Tønsbeg Schøller, parts of the fortunes of the extremely wealthy Angell family in Trondheim, and she decided to build her large palais in the middle of the city. It has a u-shape with an impressive facade to the street at two wings facing the garden on the back of the building.

Today it is the Norwegian states official residence in Trondheim, and above the door you can admire the Norwegian coat of arms.

Baklandet skydsstasjon (1791)

Just over at the other side of the river, you find this charming building, that dates back to 1791. This used to be a place where travelers to Trondheim took a rest before crossing the river into the city over Lykkens portal.

This is a charming place to take a pint of beer and the serve highly traditional dishes like the Bacalao, a tomato and dried and salted cod casserole. Great stuff for a cold fall evening, with a dripping cold pint of beer. This is a place for those of you looking for traditional food.

The Old City Bridge (1681/1860)

The Old city bridge is one of the most famous landmarks in Trondheim. The oldest bridge at this place was constructed 320 years ago, but the current one is from 1861. It connects the coty with Baklandet, a charming old area with narrow passages and small wooden houses.

It is also called "Lykkes Portal" or the Gate of Happiness after an old song.

These are just a few of the old monuments of old Trondheim. I will return to the catedral and the Archepiscopal palaces later, as the play a special role in Trondheim and Norways history, and will need more time and space.

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