Lysekloster – Light Abbey

Lysekloster ruins – built in 1146.

In 1146 the Bishop of Bergen decided to build an Abbey on some farmland he owned out in Os – today a 15 minute bus ride from town.

It would be the first Cistercian monastery built in Norway.  And only the finest monks could populate it – they were brought in especially from the Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire, England.

The monks took a vow of poverty and focussed their efforts on farming, a skill they soon became very good at, even here in Norway.  Consequently, they began buying up surrounding farms, and soon became a dominating mini power in the region.

But, it all came to an abrupt end in 1537 when the King of Denmark declared Lutheranism would become the new state religon of Norway.  The monastery was disbanded, and over the next 200 years, it was strategically dismantled, and the stones transported back to Bergen, to Denmark, and even Germany for recycling and building new castle-like structures.

Today, some 800 years later, only the foundations remain, but set in the middle of Norwegian farmland, it’s a beautiful place to visit.

Røykeneset, near track start

We decided to check it out.  To get there, we took a Nr 600 bus from town, and got off at the quaint settlement of Røykeneset.  From there we would first need to scale a mountain, which was inconveniently in the way.

The track over the mountain is through forest, and offers some gorgeous views of the Os region, the Folgefonna glacier, and the Hardanger Fjord.

We reached Lysekloster after around 1 1/2 hours, making it the perfect stop for a picnic lunch, and some photography practice.

Here we go:

Wild strawberries growing on top of the abbey walls
Honey, what are you doing in there?
Brian is unleashed into the world

After a lovely sunny picnic we traversed back over the mountain, this time taking a different route, offering more scenic views of Os.

All up a great day walk, which was concluded with the first sampling of our latest batch of home brew.

Perfect Sunday.

All photos below

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