It is small enough to see on foot and has several pedestrian streets.
The place has had several names over the centuries. Olav called it Kaupangen [essentially a Norse term for a market center] but it soon became Nidaros.
Nidaros Cathedral, a 12th Century Gothic building, was built on the grave of King Olav II [St. Olav] who was killed in battle in 1030. St. Olav brought Christianity to Norway with a sword.
Started in 1070, the cathedral was finished in 1300, and burned down five times [fires were common in Norway’s wooden cities]. The current version was built in 1869, and one can see some of the original sculpture in their museum. There was a clear Parisian influence in the earliest construction evidenced by a portrait of St. Denis.
Catholic bishops were temporal rulers as well as religious. The Cathedral was the seat of their power from 1152 until the last bishop had to flee after the Reformation in 1537. It then became a Lutheran cathedral.
Pilgrims came to drink from St. Olav’s well near the altar for its healing properties. Now dried up, it is a wishing well. [Perhaps it was always a wishing well.]
Kristianstens Fortress, 1682-1684, sits on a hill above the city and is now a museum and lovely park with great views.
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology is nearby on another hill. The largest of eight universities in Norway, it has produced five Nobel Laureates. Trondheim shop signs show local merchants often cater to its students.
Alie, a student of World War II history, was interested to see the Nazi submarine pens as
we passed them on a bus. The Germans occupied Trondheim from April 1940 until the end of the war. Despite heavy bombing, the Allies were unable to seriously damage the pens which were used to deploy the notorious “wolf packs” which sank so much Allied shipping.
The Germans did nothing to win “hearts and minds” and treated the Norwegian population brutally. But some good even came from the occupation. Today, those “indestructible” sub pens serve as Norway’s National Archives.
Click on photos to enlarge.
P.S. We stopped in London at the end of our trip and in went to the British Museum where we saw the famous Lewis chessmen, 12th century chess pieces carved from walrus ivory which scholars believe may have been made in Trondheim.