Middelalderbyen - middelage town, Oslo
Now this is a beautiful part of the Gamlebyen area. When I first visited The Middle age town and Gamlebyen I actually passed Bispeborgen and it wasn´t until I was reading tips on VT that I realized that I had missed this, so I went back - thanks to VT :)
This is the Bishop´s palace, the Mayor´s residence and country home. The Baroque gardens here are beautiful and the building as well, it is just pure delight sitting in the garden on a sunny day - I love Baroque. There is a café by the building, but I just prefer sitting in the garden. The garden is 230 meters long and was constructed in the late 1700.
In the olden times the Bishop of Oslo had his Bishop´s palace built next to St. Hallvard´s Cathedral. There used to be a footbridge directly leading to the Cathedral, but that is now destroyed.
The Bishop lived here until 1554, but then the Mayor moved in in 1579 and rebuilt the place, as it were.
Ladegaarden was built in 1725 on top of the old building in Baroque style. To the left of Ladegaarden one can still see the ruins of bispeborgens. It is called Bishop Nichola´s Chapel.
There are quite a few concerts held here.
Bispegaarden - or The Bishop´s residency, was erected in 1623. Next to it are the ruins of St. Olav´s monastery. The current building dates back to 1883-1884 when The Bishop´s residency was rebuilt in Neo-Gothic style. Since 1986 the current Bishop´s residence has been located here.
The cellar of the St. Olav´s monastery is under this building now.
When I visited I thought this was a church and tried to enter, only to realize that this was where the Bishop resides ;) So don´t follow my example...
St. Hallvard´s Cathedral in Middlealderbyen was the Cathedral of Oslo from early 1100s until 1639.
The construction of the Cathedral began in early 1100 and in 1130 King Sigurd the Crusader was buried by the Cathedral. The Cathedral was built at the highest point on a hill in the Middelalderbyen - The Medieval city, so it must have looked very majestic in its time. It is only ruins now, but from relatively well preserved ruins it shows that it was big. It is thought that it looked similar to the now oldest church in Oslo, Akerkirken church. It was built as a basilica in Romanesque style.
Through the ages the Cathedral was enlarged in a Gothic style. On the high altar was a reliquary remains of St. Hallvard, the patron saint of Oslo.
The Cathedral served until 1639 until the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Christiania square took over that role. But that Cathedral burnt down so it only served as a Cathedral for a few decades until the current Cathedral was consecrated in 1697. So the current Cathedral is the 3rd Cathedral of Oslo.
Stones from the St. Hallvard´s Cathedral were used for building The Akerhus fortress.
I found this site of ruins to be the most interesting of all the ruin sites in Middelalderbyen. There are several grave-stones at the ruins, 2 of them which are located on the path through the ruins (see my photos).
Here was the King´s residence in Oslo from ca 1000-1300. There are not many ruins left from The King´s yard as a factory has been raised in this area, but still there are some walls left of The King´s yard. It is the oldest part of Middelalderbyen.
A treasure of German and English coins was found here so that it is known that The King´s yard dates back to ca 1040 when Harald the Hard Ruler ruled in Norway.
The ruins of the stone fort date back to ca 1200 when King Haakon Haakonsson ruled in Norway. The King´s residence here in Middelalderbyen was a citadel and here the King resided when he was in Oslo. But Akerhus fortress took over that role in the 1300s.
It is a pity that this locomotive workshop was built here in 1890 as then a large part of the ruins was destroyed. Back then they didn´t regard ruins the same way we do today.
St. Mary´s Church was the Royal church from the 1100s to 1542. It was located next to the King´s residence in Middelalderbyen and was regarded as one of the most beautiful churches in Norway in the 1300s.
It has been reconstructed through the ages and started out as a stave church in 1050 and became a stone church in 1100 and in ca 1200 it became a brick church. King Haakon V (died 1319) and his queen were buried here, but their graves are now at Akerhus fortress.
In 1523 there was a fire in the church and it could not be repaired, and since 1524 there has been no church here, only the remains from that church.
The ruins of the church are the first you will encounter when entering Middelalderbyen from the ocean side.
Next to St. Olav´s Monastery are the ruins of the small Holy Cross Church, which was a parish church which served the parish north of the Monastery. It dates back to before 1248. It was dedicated to the Holy Cross of Jesus. It is estimated that it was a parish church from ca 1200 until 1540.
There is not much left of the ruins of this church though, but it was surrounded by a cemetary wall. It is really inconspicuous there next to the ruins of the Monastery. I only noticed it as there was an information sign by it.
On the information sign it says that around 1300 Oslo´s inhabitants were ca 3.000. And there were so many monasteries and churches to serve such a small parish. There were 2 parish churches, 3 monastery churches and a hospital church. Not counting St. Hallvard´s Cathedral and 2 other churches just in Oslo. Amazing really, all these religious places for 3.000 people.
Here used to be St. Olav´s Monastery, which was a Dominican Monastery from the 1200s until the Reformation in 1537. The Dominican priests were referred to as the "preaching brethren" due to their entusiasm in spreading the word.
In 1239 the brethren got this land as a present from the king and they built the Monastery right next to an old church, St. Olav´s church. The Monastery was quite big as can be seen on the drawing. There were ca 10-15 monks here and all in all 12-17 men lived here.
The Monastery was built of stone, but bricks were added later on in about 1300. When I was visiting I was wondering if the ruins were really from 1300 as they look so "newish". So kudos to them for a job well done.
After the Reformation to Lutheranism the east wing of the Monastery was used as home for the Lutheran bishop and is preserved as the ground floor in the Bishop´s Office from 1880ish.
Opposite the road by the Gamlebyen church is Gamlebyen gravlund graveyard. It dates back to 1873 and is the graveyard for Gamlebyen and Grönland.
The oldest part of the graveyard dates back to 1550 though and belonged the Oslo hospital which is opposite the graveyard. There are now ca 7.000 graves in the Gamlebyen graveyard.
There is a special part of the graveyard for seamen and another one for Muslims where the graves are turned towards Mekka.
There is a chapel in the graveyard from year 1887 (reconstructed in 1935), but it was closed when I visited. Almost all the churches and chapels I have wanted to visit have been closed :(
Oslo Hospital church in Gamlebyen "The Old town" dates back to 1796 and is Oslo´s fourth oldest church. It is the parish church of Gamlebyen, but now there are talks about merging this old church with Grönland church, which will then become the parish church for Gamlebyen.
3.500 people belong to Gamlebyen parish or Den norske kirke (The Norwegian church) - of 6.500 inhabitants in Gamlebyen. The people in this parish are very unhappy with the thought of being merged with Grönland church, seeing that the Gamlebyen has its own traditions and identity.
There is service in the church on Sundays at 10:45 and I was reading up on the activities at this small old church. They have a lot on their agenda.
This area located in Gamlebyen ('the old city') of Oslo, is the largest site with preserved ruines from the medieval ages in the north of Europe. It was were the city of Oslo was first founded around year 1000.
The area was neglected for a long time, but it was completely renovated for the 1000 year-anniversary of Oslo in year 2000. Today it is a beautiful place where you can walk along the ruines, relax at the 'beach', or go to one of the concerts or festivals that are held here.
Later there will also come a medieval museum here, and the park will be expanded.
Venturing inward from the harbor around Karl Johans Gate you can see a number of well-preserved and colorful 17th and 18th century buildings
Middelalderbyen - Its a ancient town in Old Oslo worth a visit. The city is planning to build an addition together with this town with museums and outdoor activities.