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11 May 2007
Commemorative Issue

Architectural Anniversaries

The Church of our Lady (Var Frue kirke) in Trondheim is one of Norway's largest medieval churches. It is said to have been founded in 1207. As the name suggests, the church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. After a fire in 1681, the walls of the church were the only structure left standing in the area. A new, right-angled town plan was drawn up, placing the church on the south side of Kongens gate, one of the city's two main streets, and close to the new marketplace.

The church's architect was Bjorn Signarsson. After the fire in 1681, the nave was extended westwards. The large west tower, designed by lieutenant Wilster, was completed in 1742. It was given a flat roof and an observation platform, but the Trondheim weather caused serious leakages and a pyramid roof was erected in 1779. The tower clock has been in operation since 1742 and the bells have been ringing at regular times since the Middle Ages.

The church contains a number of valuable cultural treasures. The organ was donated in 1772. The altarpiece dated 1742 is the largest in Norway. Originally made for the Nidaros Cathedral, it was moved to the Church of our Lady in 1837. The christening font dates back to 1694 and the pulpit to 1770, while the benches and gallery were renewed in the 1880s.

Vardohus fortress was founded in 1307 to provide protection against attack from the east. In 1733 King Christian VI decreed that a new fortress was to be built. Construction started the following year and was completed in 1738. The original drawings show the fortress very much as it is today. It is situated on a small elevation on the west side of the island of Vardoya and laid out in the shape of an eight--pointed star, about 80 metres from point to point.

Upkeep of the fortress was poor due to lack of money and the buildings and fortifications soon fell into disrepair. In 1793 the fortress was shut down and let to a Bergen company, which used the buildings to house whaling crews. The fortress was reopened in 1800. The Russians were becoming more and more of a threat as they wrought havoc along the coast of Finnmark. This proved that the fortress also had a mission in peacetime.

When the Germans vacated the fort-ress at the end of 1940-44 occupation, the buildings showed signs of neglect, but determined efforts and extra funds gradually returned them to a presentable condition. After the liberation in 1945, Vardohus served for a time as a prison for traitors and was later used by homeless people from Vardo. Alternative accommodation was found for them, and the Coastal Artillery took over the fortress in 1947.

The Church of our Lady  

The Church of our Lady

Vardohus fortress  

Vardohus fortress

Technical Information

NK: 1652-53
Subjects: The Church of our Lady, Vardohus fortress
Design: Arild Yttri, Martin Morck
Values: NOK 14.00 - NOK 23.00 No. per sheet: 50 stamps
Printing: Recess/offset by Royal Joh. Enschede, Netherlands
Sales prices:
First day cover NOK 40.00
Presentation pack NOK 42.00
Collector's set NOK 87.00
Collector's sheet NOK 57.00
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