The Medieval park - Old Aker Church

6 KM
1 hour
Enjoy a day in medieval Oslo and let yourself be enthralled by traces of ancient times.
Easy route
Situated along Gudbrandsdalsleden

This mini-pilgrimage starts from the medieval park in Gamle byen (the old town), at the core of the medieval Oslo and ends at the Old Aker church. In the medieval park there are ruins of monumental buildings from medieval Oslo. The artificial water level markings in the park show the water's edge as it appeared in the 1300s, when pilgrimage had its heyday in Norway. From this area, which was built in the Middle Ages with booths and quayside, you can look over to the main island, where the remains of the Cistercian monastery begun in 1147 still lie.

Walking northeast we first see the ruins after the St. Mary's Church and the ruins of the royal estate from the end of the 13th century. Follow the railway tracks that lead you to Saxegården and on to the ruins of the Clement church and Nicholas Church. Continue to St. Halvardsplass where Oslo Ladegård can be found. Both Saxegården and Ladegården are built on medieval ruins.

At the ruins of the St. Hallvard cathedral you will find the pilgrim milestone with the engravings “643 km til Nidaros”, the distance of Gudbrandsdalsleden from Oslo til Trondheim. Photo: Eskil Roll

The legacy of St. Olav in Oslo

As you walk out of the medieval park you see the first pilgrim milestone of the Gudbrandsdalsleden between Oslo and Trondheim, which tells that it is 643 km to Nidaros - the name Trondheim had in the Middle Ages and is still the name of the diocese in central Norway. Here are also the ruins of the Clement Church, what is believed to be Oslo's oldest church. In the area you will also find Oslo Ladegård from 1624, built on the walls of Oslo's bishopric. Here are the remains of Oslo's first cathedral, the Hallvard Cathedral and the Cross church. The Olav Monastery, one of medieval Oslo's four monasteries, is also located here, reminding us that Olav's heritage is also found in concrete physical ways in the capital of Norway.

From the old town of Oslo you continue the mini-pilgrimage through the district of Kampen. Continue through Tøyen with the Botanical Garden, the Natural History Museum and the Munch Museum. Have a pit stop at one of the many nice cafés on Grünerløkka, before you walk across the Akerselva river and follow Kjærlighetsstien (the Love Path) to the charming wooden houses in Telthusbakken.

The mini pilgrimage ends in old Aker church. In the church you can see one of the oldest cross marks in Eastern Norway. Outside the church room, in the Mary Chapel, you can see the Midgard worm carved into the wall. It represents a rare expression of how pre-Christian mythology and understanding of reality were used in a new Christian worldview.

At the Old Aker church you will find the Pilgrim Center Oslo. Stop by for more information on pilgrimage and a nice cup of coffee at the Pilgrim Café which is open during the summer weeks! Photo: Roger Jensen
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