Season: All year, however is closed for the public during other events. Find updated opening hours for the Stavanger cathedral at all times on their website. Stavanger cathedral is the only cathedral from the Middle Age that has kept its original architecture, and the only Norwegian cathedral in continuous use since the 1300s. Norway’s best-kept cathedral is located only a stone’s throw from the Stavanger harbour.
History of Stavanger cathedral
Stavanger cathedral was according to tradition built in 1125 after Sigurd Jorsalfarer named Stavanger a cathedral city. Bishop Reinald of Winchester was responsible for the construction. The church was built in Anglo-Norman style, probably by English artisans. The church patron saint is Saint Svithun, and it is presumed that his arm was one of the original relics of the church. In 1272, the cathedral was damaged by fire, after which it received a new chancel built in the Gothic style. The pulpit is made by Andrew Smith in the 1650's and the stained glass by Victor Sparre i 1957. In the armoury there is a wall carpet hung made by Frida Hansen, of the holy Saint Olaf. She has also made one of the altar cloths, as well as the carpet in the altar ring.
The cathedral and the history of the city are closely connected. What came first, though? the city, or the cathedral? According to the Norwegian historian, Knut Helle, Stavanger might have had certain city functions already before the building of the cathedral, however you cannot really talk of Stavanger as a city until later on. It can seem as though Stavanger was perceived a city already during the reign of Magnus Erlingsson from 1161-84. However, the first mention of city men, dates back to the assault by the Baglars on Stavanger in 1205. The first known, official mentioning of Stavanger as a city, is found in a letter by the King Håkon Håkonsson confirming a donation by the King Magnus Erlingsson to the episcopal chair sometime between 1226 and 1245. And is there an ancient church below the cathedral? In the crypt below the church are four postholes after a building that must have been there before the cathedral was built. Several people believe it to be the remainings of a wooden church built by Erling Skjalgsson around 1015 (Literature: Stavangerkatedralen - vår enestående nasjonalhelligdom by Inge Bruland).