Søsterkirkene – the Sisters Churches - on Granavollen are an impressive landmark and have a mysterious history. Two churches are placed next to each other. Their steeples have inspired the design of the Gran municipal coat-of-arms.
Søsterkirkene – the Sisters Churches
The Sister Churches on Granavollen are an impressive landmark and have a mysterious history.
Two churches are placed next to each other. Their steeples have inspired the design of the Gran municipal coat-of-arms.
We are still speculating why there are two churches on Granavollen. The popular explanation is that there were two sisters who disliked each other and built each her own church. But if we go back to the Middle Ages, the time at which the churches were built, it wasn’t unusual that one built two or three churches in the same vicinity. They then had different functions, for example cathedral, monastery church, or parish church.
Only on Granavollen
Today, it is only on Granavollen that we find two medieval churches so close together on the same churchyard here in Norway. The larger one, Nikolaikirken was probably the county church while the smaller one, Mariakirken, was the parish church.They were likely built during the 12th century. At that time, the churches were quite often given the names of saints. The larger one is named after the saint bishop Nikolaus of Bari, the patron saint of travellers. The smaller one was named Mariakirken after the mother of Jesus.
A Gathering Place and a Power Centre
Søsterkirkene are freely located high above the village. Granavollen has been a gathering place through centuries, both in prechristian times and in the christian era. One of the oldest finds from christian time is a rune stone from the 11th century. The burial grounds, the rune stones and written source material tell us that this has been an important religious and political power centre.
The Churches are open during the summervacation.
We welcome groups all year.
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