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The island or the Arctic Cathedral?

An Island Like a Cathedral

General Information

About Håja

Håja is an uninhabited island located in the open sea in northern Norway, west of the island of Kvaløya. It is visited by local residents in search of berries and seagull eggs, which have their colony there.

The island, however, is mainly known for its distinctive shape, which inspired the design of the Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø.

More Information

Håja versus the Arctic Cathedral

The Arctic Cathedral, which unlike the Cathedral of Tromsø, does not really have the status of a cathedral, is also called the Church of Tromsdalen, because of its location in the valley of this name. It is a Tromsø landmark, seen from far away, from the fjords, and even from a landing airplane. Some even call it the "Norwegian Opera", referring to the Sydney Opera House building.

It was established in 1965 as the work of architect Jan Inge Hovig. Its roof is covered with 11 concrete panels put on each other so that it resembles the mountainous Håja island. The entrance is on the western side - the whole wall is glazed and has a large cross. On the eastern side in 1972 beautiful symbolic stained glass was added - the work of Victor Sparre. It represents the hand of God, from which three rays come out falling on Jesus, a woman and a man.

The interior of the church is simple and severe - there are oak benches and crystal chandeliers there. Predominant sharp, oblique forms emphasize the cathedral's shape. In 2005 pine organs were installed above the entrance. Their shape also corresponds with the dominant style - they bring to mind sails and ice floes.