Norway’s First Capital and a Pilgrimage Destination:
We have a couple of hours in Trondheim, Norway’s third largest city. Our ship is moored about 20 minutes walk out of town and a quick stride in the cold takes us to the central district. Lucky for us, most of Trondheim’s sights are within easy walking distance of each other.
Trondheim’s main streets are laid out in a grid, so it’s easy to walk up and down the streets to get a feel for the place. We enter the town centre from the north and along this part of the Nidelva River, there are many fishing boats. The Ravnkloa Fish Market is nearby but we didn’t check this out.
The town centre is called Midtbyen and is surrounded by the Nidelva River. We walk down Nordre Gate and towards the town square is Var Frue Kirke (the Church of Our Lady). The clock on the church says that it’s 10:15 a.m. although it does look and feel more like early evening. With the Christmas street decorations and lights on, the town is really pretty and romantic. The shops are open, but it’s not too busy at this time, or perhaps this is what it’s normally like in Trondheim.
Parallel to Nordre Gate is Munkegata, Trondheim’s main street. Munkegata cuts right in the middle of town with the Ravnkloa Fish Market in the north and Trondheim’s famous Nidaros Cathedral in the south.
A Christmas market is in operation at the town square so it’s nice that we’re able to add Trondheim’s Christmas market to our collection of Christmas market visits. The neatly set-up timber stalls sell Christmas ornaments, local handicrafts and traditional Christmas treats. Groups of little playschool kids, rugged up in their winter gear, are on a outing with their teachers and they are the cutest sight here.
Trondheim was founded by King Olav Tryggvasson in 977 AD. It was previously called Nidaros and was the first capital of Norway. From the 10th century up to the present time, Trondheim is Norway’s coronation city. It is also a popular destination for pilgrimages.
Completed in 1320, Nidarosdomen, the oldest part of Nidaros cathedral is Trondheim’s star attraction. The cathedral is Scandinavia’s largest building dating from the Middle Ages. Its style is mostly Gothic, but the oldest part around the basilica is Roman. Unfortunately, there’s no time to go into the cathedral so we have to be contented with just the external views.
We make our way back to our ship along the river and pass Bryggen where colourful buildings line both sides of the Nidelva River. These warehouses and wharves are where business and trading used to take place since early times. Numerous fires have ravaged the buildings and what we see today are newly restored.
Trondheim it seems has the country’s oldest school, first official theatre and one of the first national newspapers. It has many other attractions such as the Archbishop’s Palace (Erkesbispegarden), Trondheim Kunstmuseum, Stiftsgarden, Trondelag Folkemuseum, etc. but for our brief visit the quick walk around town gives us a nice appreciation of the place.