“Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” certified in 2010

 

Olav II Haraldsson, later known as St. Olav, was King of Norway from 1015 to 1028. After he fell in the battle of Stiklestad in 1030 he was declared a martyr and a saint, which led to the propagation of his myth. For centuries after his death, pilgrims made their way through Scandinavia, along routes leading to Nidaros Cathedral, in Trondheim, where Saint Olav lies buried.

 

Heritage

The oldest surviving painting of Saint Olav, dating from around 1160, is on a column in the Nativity Church in Bethlehem. The number of Olav churches and chapels reminds us that the Saint Olav tradition once flourished all over northern Europe. Prior to the Reformation (before 1540, approximately), we know that at least 340 Olav churches and Olav chapels existed, of which 288 were located outside Norway.

 

Travelling today

The pilgrim ways, now called the "St. Olav Ways -The Pilgrim Paths to Trondheim", are a network of routes through Denmark, Sweden and Norway. There are dozens of different routes to take, from short one-day trips to journeys lasting several weeks. Plenty of information can be found on accommodation possibilities, attractions and re-supply options. Through this pilgrimage, the traveller can experience the joy of simple things and mix with locals from rural communities.

Photo Credits: ©David Tett

Council of Europe values

The myth of Saint Olav led thousands of pilgrims to travel for centuries across the European continent in search of his burial place. These movements caused intense cultural and religious exchanges, thus serving an important role in the construction of a European identity.

 

Association for the Route of St. Olav Ways (ACSOW)
Elgeseter
Postboks 2819
NO-7432 Trondheim
post@acsow.org

Unni Elisabeth SKAAR, President
unni.skaar@sarpsborg.com
Are SKJELSTAD, Secretary
post@acsow.org
Hans MORTEN LØVRØD, Manager
hans.morten.lovrod@pilegrimsleden.no

Official website
www.acsow.org


With the support of: