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Halsnøy Monastery is situated in the midst of the lush fjord country in Sunnhordland, on one of the old spits, or “necks”, that has given name to the island. Gently sloping fields lead down to the sea on both sides, in the south towards the Kloster Fjord, to the north towards the sheltered Klostervågen.
Ullensvang church, situated beside the vicarage, in idyllic surroundings on the headland just inside Lofthus municipality, is mentioned for the first time in written sources in 1309. At that time the present Gothic stone church must have been new. Judging by the style in the western portal and the eastern chancel windows, the church must have been built around 1300 or just before, probably by builders from Bergen influenced by the English Gothic style.
The Church and the Monastery
Lysekloster- The monks and nature
Lysekloster was the largest agricultural property in the country when it was phased out during the Reformation in 1537. In its prime this cloister encompassed two-thirds of all the farms in Os. The monks introduced and cultivated new plant species and it was probably they who stocked the waters with fish not indigenous to the area. This legacy from the Middle Ages has left a lasting mark.