Trondhjem - Encyclopedia

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TRONDHJEM, or Throndhjem (sometimes written in the German form Drontheim), a city and seaport of Norway, chief town of the stift (diocese) of Trondhjem and the amt (county) of South Trondhjem, 384 m. by rail N. of Christiania. Pop. (1900), 38,156. It lies on the south side of the broad Trondhjem Fjord on a low peninsula between the fjord and the River Nid, its situation, though picturesque, lacking the peculiar beauty of that of Christiania or Bergen. The latitude is L 63° 26' N., that of southern Iceland. In front of the town is the islet of Munkholm, formerly a monastery and now a fortress; on the high ground to the east is the small stronghold of Christiansten. The houses are principally of wood, and the streets are wide, as a precaution against the spreading of fire. The principal building is the cathedral, standing finely on a slightly elevated open site, and dating in part from the close of the 11th century, but chiefly belonging to the 12th and 13th centuries (c. 1161-1248). Its extreme length is 325 ft. and its extreme breadth 124 ft.; but in the 14th, 15th and 17th centuries it suffered greatly from repeated fires, and after the last of these the nave was completely abandoned and soon became a heap of ruins. The whole building, however, had been extensively and judiciously restored, and is the finest church in Norway and the scene of the coronation of the Norwegian sovereigns. It is cruciform, with a central tower, and has an eastern octagon which may have been copied from the corona of Canterbury Cathedral, as Eystein, archbishop of Trondhjem (1160-1188) and an active builder, was in England during his episcopate. The cathedral contains rich work in Norman style, and also much that is comparable with the best Early English. In the museums at Trondhjem there are interesting zoological and antiquarian collections, also exhibits illustrative of the fisheries and other industries. The port, which has regular communication with all the Norwegian coast towns - Hull, Newcastle, Hamburg, &c. - carries on an extensive trade in timber, oil, fish, copper, &c. The industries include shipbuilding, sawmilling, wood-pulp and fish-curing works and machine shops. Imports (coal, grain, salt, machinery, &c.) come chiefly from Great Britain. A considerable portion of the exports pass into Sweden by the Meraker railway.

Trondhjem, originally Nidaros, was founded by Olaf Tryggvason, who built a royal residence and a church here in 996. It was made an archbishopric in 1152. The city attained its highest development about the latter half of the 13th century, by which time it had become an important pilgrimage centre and had as many as fifteen churches. It sustained frequent sieges, as well as devastating conflagrations. Its importance declined about the time of the Reformation when it ceased to be a resort of pilgrims.

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