Tromsø–Arctic Cathedral

Leah and I eagerly anticipated our arrival to Tromsø. For one, we were bored of cruising, having spent two consecutive days at sea after missing the port of Bodø because of high winds and rough seas (see Order of the Blue Nose).

But Tromsø, for us, provided the needed adrenelin rush to jumpstart our Norway adventure. Now that we finally arrived at the Gateway to the Arctic, we could participate in many of the off-the-ship excursions within our reach, like snowmobiling through white-carpeted mountain passes, and searching for the Northern Lights.

The Viking Star gently glided past Polaria’s domino-stacked building as Captain Nilsen steered us through the harbor on our way to docking.

Polaria (2)

While waiting for the local authorities to clear our vessel, I had an opportunity to photograph our new surroundings from our stateroom veranda, looking from stem…

Tromso Sound

to stern.

bridge ramp and beyond (2)

But one building that piqued my interest sat off the port side of the ship, nestled in the snowy foothills of Tromsø Sound–the Arctic Cathedral. Absolutely stunning!

against the mountain

Strikingly modern, the church was designed by architect Jan Inge Hovig and built in 1965. It’s roof structure was formed by concrete sheathed in aluminum panels,

side walls

as opposed to Tromsø’s other landmark church, the Tromsø Cathedral. Located in the center of town on the spot of Tromsø’s first church built in 1252, this cathedral was finished in 1861, and remains Norway’s only cathedral made of wood.

wood church city center (2)

Leah and I crossed the Tromsø Bridge by bus for a closer look.

Tromso Bridge

Likened to the Sydney Opera House, the exterior of the Arctic Cathedral is simple in shape and style,

entrance and bicycle

while the interior design is modestly appointed to accentuate: the large prism chandeliers;

altar triangles

the sparse altar rail and pulpit; and the grand glass mosaic commissioned by artist Victor Sparre–depicting three rays of light emanating from God’s hand: one through the form of Jesus, one through woman and one through man.

Altar and window

The western wall of the sanctuary is complemented by Grönlunds Orgelbyggeri’s organ, built in 2005.

The Star of David radiating through the eastern wimdow symbolizes a spirit of inclusiveness and community acceptance. (Just kidding)

organ

The organ was built in the French Romantic tradition, and was adapted to the cathedral’s architecture, providing illusions of sails and ice floes. The organ comprises 2940 pipes, measuring from 32 feet (9.6 m) to just 5 mm. Much of the woodwork is solid pine with bellows made of reindeer hide.

It’s a pity I never heard it played, as I’m certain the cathedral’s vaulted vortex provides impressive acoustics.

Back at the Viking Star, after a brief bout of daylight (6hrs, 15min.)…

Viking Star and Artic Cathedral (2)

I returned to my veranda to record the Arctic Cathedral bathed in moonlight…

moonrise over Tromso (2)

and I imagined I heard Grieg’s Song of Norway playing from its soaring arches.

at night

 

13 thoughts on “Tromsø–Arctic Cathedral

  1. Hello.

    Very impressive photos of Tromsø. It delighted me, that you showed so many church photos, not only outside, but also inside photos. I have shot many hundreds of church photos and always I have noticed that there are differences between them, but also similarities.

    We visited in Tromsø, when returning from Nordkapp to Finland. It was very expensive town, which meant that we walked a little bit around there and continued soon to other places. BTW, Tromsø is in the north. It is situated at 69°40′N and Finland’s northernmost village Nuorgam is 70° 5′N. Nuorgam is very different from Tromsø, which can be seen in my post. If you someday will make a road trip, then river Tana between Norway and Finland is worth for a road trip. You can drive on the Norwegian side on the Finnish side of Tana river. We drove on the Finnish side.

    Thank you from this interesting post! Those northern parts have a pace in my heart.

    Happy and safe travels!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This adventure started 7 posts ago in London. Cruising to Tromso was one of six scheduled ports of call along the Western Norwegian coastline (one missed because of weather). The cruise was 13 days, but the adventure continued in Helsinki for another 4 days before returning home.

      Liked by 1 person

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