The dramatic design of Tromsø’s cathedral is the work of innovative Norwegian architect Jan Inge Hovig in 1965, and its angular planes form a much-loved landmark lying on the mainland just across the Tromsø Bridge from the city center. Shaped to resemble triangular blocks of ice – or perhaps sails or even a typical Sami dwelling – glittering with mosaics and with a glass façade adorned with a massive cross, the white edifice of the cathedral sparkles in summer’s midnight sun and gleams when its blanket of snow is floodlit in the winter months. Inside, the oak pews and simple pulpit of the cathedral’s stark interior are totally overshadowed by the multi-colored glass mosaic Return of Christ, completed by Victor Sparre in 1972, which at 23 meters (75 feet) in height, dominates the eastern end of the nave.
Thanks to its outstanding acoustics and the superb organ placed here in 2005, the Arctic Cathedral has become one of Tromsø’s favorite – and certainly its most atmospheric – concert venues, with more than 500 classical recitals and folk concerts held here each year, including stirring midnight performances of traditional Sami music in winter.
Located at Hans Nilsens vei 41, the Arctic Cathedral is open daily from 3 to 6 p.m. in January, April, May and from August 16 to December. In February and March, it is open from 2 to 6 p.m., and from June to August 15 it is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 to 7 p.m. Admission costs NOK40, while regular concert admission costs NOK70 and midnight concert admission costs NOK150. Take buses 20, 24, 26 or 28 from Tromsø city center.