Many of Norway’s most important historical events have taken place in Mid-Norway. Most famous is the history about Olav Haraldsson, later known as Saint Olaf and Olaf II of Norway, who initiated the Christianization of Norway, and who died at the battle of Stiklestad 29th July 1030. Mystical events around his death, such as the myth that his hair and nails continued to grow after his death gave him status as a saint. Above his burial site the largest cathedral in Northern Europe was built in 1070, Nidaros Cathedral. The cathedral was the main pilgrimage site in Northern Europe in the middle ages, and is even today a popular destination for pilgrimages.
Another important national event happened in the 16th century in Mid-Norway, when Archbishop Olav Engelbrektsson built his fortification on Steinvikholmen in Stjørdal municipality to defend against Danish usurpation and the reformation. This was the last resistance to Danish usurpation until 1536, when Norway became part of Denmark. This event is annually recreated with the opera performance “Olav Engelbrektsson” on Steinvikholmen.
In addition to the Nidaros Cathedral, Mid-Norway is home to several of the oldest churches in Norway, such as Værnes church from 1100 and Selbu church from 1150. Norway’s oldest burial site from pre-historic ages is located at Vang in Oppdal municipality, although the region has other burial sites such as Frosta and Alstadhaug. Further well-known historical landmarks are the rock carvings in Gauldalen in Sør-Trøndelag County and in Lerfald, Lånke and Steinkjer in Nord-Trøndelag County.
Cities and villages
According to legend, Trondheim was founded by Olav Tryggvason in 997, and the city was at the time known under the name Nidaros, which translates ‘the city by the outlet of the river Nid’. Trondheim is the largest city in the region, and the third largest in Norway after Oslo and Bergen, with around 170 000 inhabitants of whom 30 000 are students. Hence, Trondheim has gained the nicknames Technology capital and knowledge city, there Norway’s Science and Technology University is the biggest educational institution in the city.
In Sør-Trøndelag County, Trondheim and Brekstad are the only cities, and 55 percent of the inhabitants of Sør-Trøndelag County lives in Trondheim. The county consists of 25 municipalities, including the municipality and mining town Røros, which has been on UNESCO’s world heritage list since 1980 because of its distinctive mining environment and wooden architecture. The southern part of the county includes the valleys towards Dovrefjell and Rørosvidda (Oppdal, Orkdal and Gauldal). The western part consists of the areas around the river outlet of the Trondheimsfjord, and a large number of islands, with Hitra and Frøya being the largest. The northern part includes the coastal strip Fosna.
The smallest city in Norway is located in Nord-Trøndelag County, Kolvereid, which together with Stjørdal, Levanger, Verdal, Steinkjer and Namsos constitutes the county’s six cities. Nord-Trøndelag County consists of 24 municipalities and is often divided into the districts Innherred, Fosen, Stjørdalen and Namdalen.