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Apart from the king’s estate at Holmen, Håkonshallen and the lower floors of the Rosenkrantz tower, the three parish churches in the centre of Bergen are what have been preserved from medieval Bergen: Mariakirken, Korskirken and Olavskirken (the cathedral). The Romanesque base of the tower from Nonneseter monastery church on the spit between the two Lundegård lakes can still be seen in the landscape, while the other medieval buildings now lie in ruins: the town’s oldest town hall and wine cellar at Nikolaikirkealmenning, Lavranskirken and Maria Gildeskåle between Mariakirken and Bryggens Museum and the Katarina hospital on the north side of Dreggsalmenningen.
The old church at Holdhus is one of the oldest timbered churches left in the west of Norway. The new church at Eide, built in 1889, replaced the church location from the Middle Ages. As the small, tarred church lies today, in the hilly landscape at Holdhus, it was taken over by the Society for the Preservation of Norwegian Ancient Monuments, who obtained title to the property in 1900 from Hans Holdhus.
Numerous finds show that the settlement at Herdla goes back to prehistoric times, and the large estate at Herdla has enjoyed a central place in the nation’s history since High Middle Ages. As Ask, Herdla was part of the country estate Harald Hårfagre took over as he took command of the west of Norway.
Ådland, innermost in the Samnanger Fjord is an old church centre and transport centre; a nodal point in the transport from sea to land. The white painted church standing today, was built in 1851, but there were two older churches here in former centuries.
Tælavåg has a significant place in the history of the German occupation in WWII. The small community by the sea, where for centuries people had made a living from farming and fishing in harmony with the natural resources, in 1942 became the victim of German reprisals without their equal in Norwegian war history. The collection of war histories in Tælavåg provides us with a close-up of the dramatic events.
The small white-painted chapel with the red brick tiled roof just south of the monastery ruins at Lyse was built in 1663 as a local chapel for the monastery estate, following the takeover of the property by the District Recorder (Stiftskriver) Niels Hanssøn Schmidt two years previously. The chapel, with its harmonic proportions, lies in the cultural landscape beside the grand monastery estate, witness to a time gone by. But even today, there is a tradition of high mass on the 2nd day of Ascension in Lyse Chapel.
In the Middle Ages the stone church in Fana was a place for pilgrimage, containing a miraculous silver crucifix that could heal the sick. A hill to the west of the church is still called Krykkjehaugen (the crutch hill); according to belief this is where the sick threw away their crutches. Perhaps this church, lying where it does at the old half county boundary , also held a special position in relation to the district churches in the county.