Steinvikholm Castle, on the Skatval peninsula in the borough of Stjørdal, is the object of today’s outing. We turn off the E6 and navigate down towards the fjord, finally arriving on the banks of the Åsenfjord, a branch of the Trondheimsfjord.

Before us we see another peninsula, Frosta, but it is the castle straight ahead of us that our attention is focussed on today. It is a mighty sight, conveying an aura of power. But on a sunny day like today, I am also impressed by the view of the fjord. Mighty and magnificent.

“We have just concluded this year’s opera season,” our guide tells us. “Every august we present the story of Steinvikholm Castle in the form of a midnight opera. This year was the nineteenth in a row. The opera is a great way to relive the drama that took place here in the mid 1500s.”

Among the major events in Norwegian history

I have to admit poor recollections of these dramatic events, and therefore become quite engrossed in what our guide has to tell us.

Steinvikholm Castle was commissioned by Norway’s last Catholic archbishop, Olav Engelbrektsson, and was completed in 1532. It was Engelbrektsson’s home and place of work, and was the centre of power in Norway until 1537.

“The Reformation is one of the major events in Norwegian history,” our guide tells us.

So many events are connected. I understand this after an hour’s guided tour. The Battle of Stiklestad in 1030 ended with the introduction of Christianity, Nidaros Cathedral was built and later Steinvikholm Castle. And in 1537 Norway was occupied by Denmark, and the age of Catholicism came to an end.

The abridged edition of a long and interesting story. Your knowledge of history is given a sound update here. Magnificent buildings are always a welcome sight, this one in particular.

The five meter thick stone walls alone are worth a visit. But it is the guided tour that fascinates the most. Everything becomes so much more interesting when its history is recounted, and this is also the case with Steinvikholm Castle. The who, the why, the when and the how.

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