Arctic Cathedral (Ishavskatedralen) – Tromsø, Norway - Atlas Obscura
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Tromsø, Norway

Arctic Cathedral (Ishavskatedralen)

This functioning parish church is also the site of many concert performances due to its wonderful acoustics. 

This cathedral is a striking modernist landmark visible from the Tromsø Sound and when flying into Tromsø. Because of its brilliant acoustics, many musical events are held at the church, including its New Year’s Eve performance and Midnight Sun concerts. 

Tromsdalen Church, also known as Ishavskatedralen (The Arctic Cathedral) was built in 1965 and designed by the late Norwegian architect Jan Inge Hovig. Eleven aluminum-coated concrete panels on either side of the roof provide the cathedral’s bold form, often compared to the style of the Sydney Opera House.

 The main entrance is surrounded by a large glass façade with a pronounced cross from floor to roof. A beautiful full height stained glass window was added to the east side of the building in 1972, made by prominent Norwegian artist Victor Sparre. Its was built in 2005 by Grönlunds Orgelbyggeri, in the style of the cathedral’s bold architecture. The organ is made up of 2940 pipes, measuring from 5 milimeters to 32 feet. Most of the woodwork is solid local pine and the bellows are made of reindeer hide.

Know Before You Go

Small fee for entrance, concerts will have an additional admission charge. You can take a tour from downtown Tromso, walk across the bridge on your own, or take a city bus to get here. The Arctic Cathedral is a working parish church and, as such, can close at short notice for weddings and funerals.