Historical Sights of Trondheim, Norway: The Viking Capital

There’s much to discover in Trondheim, Norway, a breathtaking city rich in history and religious influence. The premier stop on Vantage’s Norwegian coastal cruises takes it name from an Old Norse word meaning “home of the strong and fertile.” That name alone says a lot about this city, which was Norway’s capital from 1030 to 1217.

City of Kings

The Nidelva river winds around the city’s downtown districts, where quaint old wharves dot the mouth of the waterway. At port, disembark to explore the city by walking down wide streets that seem to sweep you back to the Middle Ages. Visit sights like the majestic Nidaros Cathedral and stroll by wooden homes that line the downtown and Bakklandet districts. Admire the Old Town Bridge, known locally as Gamle Bybro, and its intricately carved gates.

You’ll come upon a towering column in the main square with the statue of Olaf Tryggvason, the Viking king who founded Trondheim, Norway, in 997. In fact, Trondheim continues to be the place of grand coronations for the Lutheran nation. Coronations from King Harald Hårfagre (Harald Fairhair; 872-933) to benediction ceremonies of modern kings occur here in Trondheim.

From Viking Times to Now: a Rich History

Archaeologists that have explored Trondheim even discovered settlements along the river that were established long before 997; however, the city boomed in size and population after the first archbishop’s leadership was established in 1152. More than 20 churches were erected around the city’s center in the 13th century, along with several monasteries. As you stand in front of Nidaros Cathedral, it will be hard to imagine that the monumental structure was once just a small Catholic church built over King Olaf II Haraldsson’s coffin. Haraldsson was a Viking king who died in battle outside of the city in 1030 and later became the patron saint of Norway. Saint Olaf Day, July 29, remains one of the biggest annual events for the city.

In medieval times, Trondheim attracted religious pilgrims from Northern Europe. Since the 1980s, a modern revival has taken place, and Trondheim’s Nidaros Cathedral and the Nidaros Pilgrim Centre are again religious destinations for Christian pilgrims.

During your tour of Trondheim, challenge yourself to spot the city’s symbol carved into its historic buildings and monuments. Since the Middle Ages, the rose has represented the city of Trondheim. A five-leaf rose adorns the city’s flag, and this rose has also been the city seal since the 18th century.

Vantage’s Grand Norwegian Coastal Voyage takes you to Norway’s amazing natural wonders like its pristine fjords, and docks at unspoiled fishing villages to cross the Arctic Circle — the very top of the European continent. Along the way, a tour of Trondheim will educate and impress you as you celebrate the rich culture and history of Norway.

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