Sunday, 22 May 2016

The Castle of King Sverre and the Trøndelag Folk Museum

The town of Nidaros that is called Trondheim today was the center of the gathering of Norwegian lands into the single country and for a long time was its capital. It became home of the royal dynasty founded by king Sverre Sigurdsson and a stone castle was built there. 

The Castle of King Sverre and the Trøndelag Folk Museum

Sverre was born and brought up on the Faroe Islands and intended to become a priest. From his mother he found out about his royal descent and went to the mainland to fight for his right to the Norwegian throne. He met a group outlaws called Birkebeiners and soon became their leader. Initially, the Birkebeiners had been reduced to a ragtag army of brigands and vagabonds with no more than 70 men. Many regard Sverre's achievement of forging them into a force of skilled and professional soldiers as proof of his leadership qualities. The Birkebeiners played a crucial role on Sverre's way to power. 

Sverre Sigurdsson usurped the throne with violence. He was especially famous for his conflicts with the Catholic Church. Sverre wanted to see priests as subjects of the king while the Pope insisted that priests should obey to archbishops. 

The Castle of King Sverre and the Trøndelag Folk Museum

The king built his castle on a hill to the West of Nidaros. Under severe conditions of the civil war, it should have been a real fortress to be able to survive numerous attacks. The construction finished in 1183. 

After the death of king Sverre in 1202, two generations continued to live in the castle, but the rebels managed to destroy it several times. For a long time only ruins reminded about the former glory, until in 1913 it was decided to found a national folk museum in the place of the former royal castle – Trøndelag Folk Museum

The Castle of King Sverre and the Trøndelag Folk Museum

Today Sverresborg Trøndelag Folk Museum is the third largest cultural history museum in Norway. Apart from artifacts and photos, it exhibits historical buildings from the Trøndelag region. Many of them were brought to the museum from far away. The eldest building is the Haltdalen stave church built in 1170. However, the majority of the buildings date back from 18th-19th centuries.

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