The Viking Capital: Trondheim, Norway

Kristiansten Festning [Fort]

Kristiansten Festning [Fort]

Founded by Viking King Olav Tryggvason in 997, Trondheim was Norway’s Viking capital for over 200 years.  Today it is the country’s third largest city with a population of around 185,000.

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.

The university as seen from the fort

The university as seen from the fort

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

Nazi sub pens, now the National Archives

Nazi sub pens, now the National Archives

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.

Two pieces from the Lewis Chessmen

Two pieces from the Lewis Chessmen


About ralietravels

Ray and Alie (Ralie) are a retired couple who love to travel. Even during our working years, we squeezed a trip in whenever we could, often when we had to stretch the budget to do so. We have been fortunate to vacation in all 50 states, all the provinces of Canada and one territory and a little more than 50 countries. We like to drive, but we particularly love to travel back roads to find unusual sights, people, and experiences.
This entry was posted in Travel Logs and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Viking Capital: Trondheim, Norway

  1. Hugely informative, and genuinely interesting as usual!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Keith & Loraine Beckman says:

    I think I would love visiting Norway as it looks absolutely beautiful. such interesting details that I would never otherwise have known. Thanks a bunch for the information. Love to you both. LK&W


  3. N N says:

    So interesting…… HappyNew Year

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

I am interested in your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.