Nidaros Cathedral: Norwegian cathedral where Olaf II Haraldsson was enshrined


Trondheim, Norway’s third largest city, is home to a majestic church called Nidaros Cathedral.

Nidaros Cathedral is not only a sight to behold from the outside but also a holy place where many believers have made pilgrimages since medieval times.

In this article, I would like to focus on Nidaros Cathedral and introduce its history and why it is called a holy place.

What is Nidaros Cathedral?

Nidaros Cathedral is the largest cathedral in Norway, built between the 11th and 14th centuries.

Nidaros Cathedral is dedicated to Olaf II Haraldsson, who ruled Norway from 1015 to 1028 and was once a sacred place visited by pilgrims from all over the country.

Nidaros Cathedral is located in the city of Trondheim in central Norway.

Trondheim is located north of the capital city of Oslo, a distance of about 640 km.

Traveling from Oslo to Trondheim takes approximately 1 hour by air and 6 hours by train.

Trondheim is known as the first capital city of Norway.

Today, it remains the third-largest city in the country.

Features inside and outside the cathedral 

Nidaros Cathedral is a stone cathedral that combines Gothic and Romanesque styles.

Built in the Middle Ages, Nidaros Cathedral has a stately and majestic appearance that results from a long and storied history.

On the other hand, the cathedral’s interior has a peaceful atmosphere.

Two magnificent pipe organs are installed in the interior space with high ceilings.

In addition, it features mystical decorations throughout, including stained glass windows and sculptures depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments.

Next to Nidaros Cathedral, another building was once used as the archbishop’s residence.

Today, the building is open to the public as the Palace Museum, where furnishings and artifacts from Nidaros Cathedral are displayed.

During the summer season, from June to August, an observation deck in the tower section of the cathedral is also available.

A total of 172 spiral stairs lead up to the observation deck at the top.

The view from the observation tower, a superb spot, is spectacular.

It is said that the view of the city of Trondheim, with its colorful houses and the fjord stretching to the horizon, can be seen from the observatory.

History of Nidaros Cathedral

Construction of Nidaros Cathedral began in 1070.

Construction of the cathedral took more than 200 years and was completed around 1300.

Since its construction, the cathedral has suffered numerous fires and lightning strikes and has had to be rebuilt each time it was damaged.

After being damaged by fire in 1327, the cathedral was again set on fire in 1531.

Nidaros Cathedral was repeatedly struck by natural disasters, including a fire caused by a lightning strike in 1719.

Nidaros Cathedral was not rebuilt for an extended period and suffered from wear and tear.

However, in 1869, under the direction of architect Heinrich Ernst Schirmer, the cathedral was extensively rebuilt over the course of more than a century.

Thus, when the final construction was completed in 2001, Nidaros Cathedral was restored to its traditional majestic appearance.

At the same time, Nidaros Cathedral is a historic building that has long been the site of official Norwegian events.

Since the 15th century, Nidaros Cathedral has hosted the coronation of Norwegian kings.

Coronation ceremonies at Nidaros Cathedral continued until 1906 when the Norwegian Constitution was revised.

Nidaros Cathedral has also remained a building of particular significance in Norway even after coronation ceremonies ceased.

For example, at the time of the coronation of the current King Harald V of Norway, the equivalent of a coronation ceremony was held in Nidaros Cathedral.

A sanctuary where Olaf II Haraldsson rests

Nidaros Cathedral is a cathedral dedicated to Olaf II Haraldsson.

During the Middle Ages, it was the most important holy place in Northern Europe, visited by many pilgrims from all over.

Olaf II Haraldsson died in 1030 and was canonized in 1031.

Thus, Nidaros Cathedral, built on the land where Olaf II Haraldsson was buried, took on special significance as a holy place where a saint was enshrined.

The process from the capital Oslo to Nidaros Cathedral is known as a pilgrimage route.

Many tourists make the pilgrimage.

Accommodations and restaurants are well maintained along the route.

And those who reach the destination of the pilgrimage route, Nidaros Cathedral, receive a pilgrimage certificate.

Check out if you want to experience Nidaros Cathedral as a pilgrimage site.


Nidaros Cathedral is a dignified church in Trondheim, Norway.

It is a holy place where King Aarav II is laid to rest, and is visited by many pilgrims as well as tourists.

If you visit Trondheim, be sure to stop by.