vestfronten

The West Front

A picture of the West Front from 1661 shows extensive deterioration, with only the bottom sections left standing. Only five statues from the Middle Ages have survived. The restoration of the West Front took from 1905 to 1983 and was worked on by a large number of sculptors.

The largest church bell in Norway hangs in the West Front's north tower. Installed in 1964, it weighs 2,400 kg, and people say that it can be heard in Melhus, all of 30 km away, when the wind is in the right direction. The church has three bells. The 'Great Bell' is the oldest and was cast in Hoorn in the Netherlands in 1751.

Although Nidaros Cathedral is where St Olaf is buried, it was known as 'Christ Church' in the Middle Ages because it was dedicated to Christ. The central axis of the West Front bears traces of this: At the bottom is Christ crucified, above the Rose Window he is judging the living and the dead, and at the top we see Christ in heaven.

A picture of the West Front from 1661 shows extensive deterioration, with only the bottom sections left standing. Only five statues from the Middle Ages have survived. The restoration of the West Front took from 1905 to 1893 and was worked on by a large number of sculptors.

The final figure, a copy of John the Apostle (eighth from the left at the bottom) was added in 1983. The original is now in the Archbishop's Palace Museum. There are some minor differences between the original and the copy. Visit the museum to find out more.

The archangel Michael can be seen at the very top of the West Front's north tower. His wings are like those of a large bird and it looks as if he has just landed. He is fighting evil incarnated in the form of a dragon. Kristofer Leirdal, who sculpted the figure in 1965, thought long and hard about what an archangel might look like, ultimately choosing the features of musician Bob Dylan.