A 1200-year-old temple of Odin and Thor found in Norway

Reconstruction of the external appearance of a Norwegian temple

In the village of Ose, near the Norwegian city of Orsta, during construction work, the ruins of an ancient settlement were found. The oldest samples are dated back to 2000-2500 years ago, and the largest and most interesting ones date back to the Viking Age. In particular, the 1200-year-old temple dedicated to Scandinavian deities is the first of its kind discovered in Norway.

It is believed that the ancient Scandinavians began to build their "houses of the gods" in the 6th century. AD, and did this until the 11th century, when the new royal power in Norway ordered them to be burned in order to clear the space for the implantation of Christianity. The era of the Vikings, as a strong expansionist nation, was drawing to a close. However, three centuries earlier it was in its prime, and the huge temple in Osa by the standards of that time was probably of great religious importance.

The building has a length of 14 m, a width of 8 m and a height of 12 m. Although nothing remains of the wooden walls, scientists have modeled its size and structure following the traces of the pillars. The Vikings in those days were already quite familiar with Christianity, saw and understood the significance of large religious buildings. Therefore, the temple received huge columns, unusual for northerners, in the center, which supported not only the vault, but also a small decorative turret.

Huge hearths and many remains of abundant meals were found inside the temple. Practical Vikings made offerings to the gods in the form of alcohol and food, which were prepared on the spot. The gods have no bodily form, so the gifts were passed on to them through intermediaries, in the person of priests and believers. Simply put, feasts were held in the temple in honor of the gods, so it was a very popular and respected place. Including, for carrying out fertility rituals - among the finds there are phallic symbols and objects.