History and museums
Tromsø Cathedral (Norwegian: Tromsø domkirke) is a cathedral in the city of Tromsø in Troms county, Norway. The cathedral is part of the Tromsø domkirke parish in the Tromsø arch-deanery and it is the episcopal seat of the Diocese of Nord-Hålogaland in the Church of Norway. This cathedral is notable since it is the only Norwegian cathedral made of wood.
The church is built in Gothic Revival style, with the church tower and main entrance on the west front. It is probably the northernmost Protestant cathedral in the world. With over 600 seats, it is one of Norway's biggest wooden churches. It originally held about 984 seats, but many benches and seats have been removed over the years to make room for tables in the back of the church.
The structure was completed in 1861, with Christian Heinrich Grosch as the architect. It was built using a cog joint method. It is situated in the middle of the city of Tromsø (on the island of Tromsøya) on a site where in all likelihood there has been a church since the 13th century.
The first church in Tromsø was built in 1252 by King Haakon IV as a royal chapel. It belonged to the king, therefore, not the Catholic Church. This church is mentioned several times in the Middle Ages as "St. Mary's near the Heathens" (Sanctae Mariae juxta Pagano).
Not much is known about the previous churches on the site, but it is known that in 1711 a new church was built on this site. That church was replaced in 1803. That church was moved out of the city in 1860 to make way for the building of the present cathedral. The 1803 church building was relocated to an area a few hundred metres south of the city boundary and then in the early 1970s it was moved again to the site of the present Elverhøy Church further up the hills in the city. This church is still there and contains a number of pieces of art that have adorned the churches in Tromsø from the Middle Ages, the oldest of which is a figure of the Madonna, possibly of the 15th century.
The present cathedral was consecrated on 1 December 1861 by the Bishop Carl Peter Essendrop. In 1862 the bell tower was completed and the bell was installed. All of the interior decorations and art were not completed until the 1880s. The cathedral cost about 10,000 Speciedalers to build.
The cathedral interior is dominated by the altar with a copy of the painting Resurrection by the noted artist Adolph Tidemand. Under the picture is a quote from the Gospel of John. Stained glass windows in the front of the church, designed by Gustav Vigeland, were installed in 1960.