On Norway’s southeastern coast, in the county of Aust-Agder, lies the lovely town of Risør, known for its well-preserved white wooden buildings and sheltered location by the Skagerrak sea. An important harbor as early as the 1500s, Risør developed into a center for timber export and shipbuilding during the 17th century. The town was officially…
A Royal Visitor Remembered: The Thai Pavilion in the Swedish Countryside
Deep in the countryside of Jämtland stands a surprising structure: an authentic Thai pavilion. The story of how this incongruous structure came to be built among the forests and fields of north-central Sweden dates back to the late 19th century and the connection between two monarchs from very different countries.
The Old and New of Trondheim, Norway
Guidebook writer David Nikel takes us through his adopted hometown of Trondheim, where history and modernity walk happily hand in hand.
The Stave Churches of Norway: Architectural Treasures from the Middle Ages
Among Norway’s most striking historical buildings from the Middle Ages are its wooden stave churches. Erected at a time when other parts of Europe were raising great cathedrals in stone, they are, in the words of UNESCO, “one of the most elaborate and technologically advanced types of wooden construction that existed in North-Western Europe during the Middle Ages.”…
Roskilde Cathedral: Denmark’s Royal Burial Church
A visit to Roskilde Cathedral is a journey through centuries of Danish history. The first church on the site, made of wood, was built in the 900s by King Harald Bluetooth and was replaced in the following century by a stone church. The current brick church was begun in the 1170s and took more than 100 years to finish. The main body of the cathedral was completed in 1280 and is one of Scandinavia’s earliest examples of Gothic brick architecture.
The Churches of Stockholm, Part 2: Södermalm
Some of Stockholm’s most imposing churches are located on the island of Södermalm south of Gamla Stan. Since much of Södermalm consists of a ridge rising above the rest of Stockholm, these churches are visible from many parts of the city and often command sweeping views.
The Churches of Stockholm, Part 1: Gamla Stan
Gaze out from any viewpoint overlooking Stockholm, and you’ll notice the spires and cupolas soaring above the surrounding rooftops. Stockholm has a wealth of churches dating from various periods in the city’s history. The oldest of these provide a fascinating journey into the past and are, logically enough, located in the Old Town.