A 1,200-year-old temple dedicated to Thor and Odin discovered for the first time in Norway

Traces of a pagan temple in honor of the Old Norse gods Thor and Odin were first discovered on the territory of Norway.

On a rare monument of the Viking religion, archaeologists stumbled upon the town of Osa near the town of Erst on the site where a housing complex is being built. The find dates back to the end of the 18th century. Scientists suggest that it was a wooden building 14 meters long, 8 meters wide and 12 meters high. The temple was used for worship and sacrifice to the gods during the summer and winter solstices.

According to researchers, before the ruins of such structures were found only in Sweden and Denmark. As the archaeologist from the University Museum of Bergen Soren Dienhoff said, the Norwegians began to build “houses of the gods” in the 6th century, earlier the rites of worship of the Old Norse gods were carried out in the open air.

– Temples were a stronger expression of faith. In addition, their appearance was associated with a change in society – the Vikings began to interact with the Roman Empire and the Germanic tribes of Northern Europe, after which they formed a class division, and religious worship became more ideological and organized, the scientist explained.

The “houses of the gods” were built on the model of early Christian churches – with a high tower above a pitched roof. Travelers shared this architecture of religious buildings. The ceremonies were held during important holidays of the religious calendar. Food and precious offerings were offered to indoor wooden figurines representing the Old Norse gods – the god of war Odin, the god of the storm Thor and the god of fertility Freyr.

According to scientists, the discovered temple could have been destroyed in the 11th century, when in Norway almost all pagan buildings were destroyed or burned.