Central Norway - the land of contrasts

Lofoten Islands and Medival Trondheim - Central Norway - the land of contrasts

The contrasts are impressive - it is only a few kilometres from the open coast to the mountains, with high plains and snowy peaks. Inland there are attractive green valleys and countryside with fertile farmland, some of the best in Norway.

Trøndelag boasts a rich and varied nature, and only a short drive takes you from the mountain plains, down through forested valleys and wide grain districts, out to the coast, or from the rolling mountain formations of the interior to the wild and naked mountains on the ocean’s edge, from peaceful fjord paradises to the most exposed and hardy regions. Man has lived here for thousands and thousands of years.

The history of central Norway is dramatic, as is its scenery. The coast is long and weather-beaten with changeable conditions all year round. Trøndelag was one of the first areas of Norway to be settled, as is evidenced by rock carvings and cave paintings.The Battle of Stiklestad is known by every Norwegian as the place where King Olav the Holy was slain by Viking chiefs in 1030. He was buried on the banks of the River Nidelven, cannonized and his grave became the site of the magnificent Nidaros Cathedral. Pilgrims flocked here. In the Middle Ages, Nidaros was among the most popular destinations for pilgrims along with Rome, Jerusalem and Santiago de Compostella.

The many rock carvings and other remains, among them the largest burial area in Scandinavia in Oppdal, show that the region was historically, for a very long time, centrally significant for Norway. Interesting rock carvings are also found in Stjørdal, Frosta og Steinkjer. There was large scale cultivation of grain, iron mining, and a very early legislative centre (Frostatingslagen). And historic sites predominate.

Nidaros (today: Trondheim) was the first “capital” of the country, King Olav Haraldsson fell at the battle of Stiklestad in 1030, in his attempt to regain Trøndelag and the kingdom. He was canonised and worshipped as one of the most important saints in Northern Europe. This made the Archbishop’s seat at Nidaros into one of the major centres of culture of its time and it became a very popular destination for pilgrimages.

Nidaros Cathedral is also one of the most magnificent of Scandinavian churches. St. Olav’s Day (29 July) is celebrated every year in the play “Spelet om Heilag Olav” at Stiklestad, and in the large scale Olav Festival in Trondheim. The old buildings of the mining community at Røros are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Trøndelag also boasts old palaces (Austrått, Steinviksholm), old forts and the largest wooden building in Scandinavia (Stiftsgården), – not forgetting new cultural and sports arenas, including ski arena for World Nordic Ski Championships in 1997. There are a wealth of opportunities for lovers of open-air life, hunting and fishing, renowned salmon rivers, – and a large variety of cultural opportunities all year round.
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Nidaros Cathedral



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