Steinsholmen and Mjøskastellet (1):
1,5 km north west for Ringsaker Kirke lies Mjøskastellet, a tower situated at Steinsholmen. The tower was built by king Håkon IV Håkonsson, and the first time it was heard of was through a mortgage deed from the year of 1234. There was an ongoing conflict between the rebels from the eastern part of Norway and the Crown around this period of time, and it is widely held that the king built the tower as a part of his defence to control the traffic across Mjøsa. Mjøskastellet was the biggest tower in Norway from the Middle Ages. The tower is argued to have been over 10 metres tall, and has also been used as a state prison during the time of Magnus Lagabøte. It is still not certain when the use of the tower ceased, but it is well known that the tower had become ruins by the time of 1775. The local population helped themselves with the building stones from the tower, and there is likely that some stones found at Stokke Nedre originates from the ruins of the tower. The initials ”O.O.S” and the year of 1772 is carved in on one of the stones.
Just past Steinsholmen, you can find Steinsodden. The headland has a series of cultural heritage sites that include petroglyphs from the Stone Age. You may see the big boulder where people carved at least 13 moose, and arguably a boat, for about 5000 to 6000 years ago. This art provides information about moose and hunting since the Stone Age.
Stein Gård (3):
Agriculture has been conducted for over 2000 years at Stein Gård. The farm is an important farm historically. The premises for production at the farm, the barn, burnt down in 2016, and a new building has just recently been built. The new barn was Norway’s biggest private barn in 2021, with a size of 3 400 square metres and a state of the art manure cellar, system for feeding and storage room.
Ringsaker churct (4):
With its authenticity and size, Ringsaker church is a unique historical monument regarded in a national context. There are only five basilicas in Norway, and Ringsaker church is the oldest. The church was built around year 1150 in true Romanesque style, and was further expanded by the end of the 13th century. The tower from 1684 is 64 metres tall, and is among the five highest towers in Norway. The church is rich in jewels, figures and paintings. Most eras of style during the history of the church are represented.
Sveinhaug Gård is located a couple of hundred metres south from Ringsaker church. The tumulus is from the end of the 7th century, and it is believed that king Svein was buried there. This monumental tumulus tells us that the area was the centre of power in the region, and it is therefore not surprising that Ringsaker church was built in this area.
Traffic across Mjøsa:
Mjøsa was an important traffic artery in the old days. Until the 1800s, only simple and poor cart roads existed in the rocky and hilly forest areas surrounding Mjøsa. The tools at the time made it extremely time consuming to clear and repair the roads. However, Mjøsa opened up for efficient transport and trade in the region through enabling the use of boat as means of transportation during summer time, and horse with sleigh during winter time. Today, the traffic along Mjøsa has been replaced by roads and railway on both sides of the lake. Skibladner, the “white swan” of Mjøsa, was launched for the first time in 1856. It is still regarded as a cultural-historical flagship, both nationally and internationally.
The landscape around Mjøsa is well known for its fertile land and its many natural qualities, which have been developed through millions of years of geological processes and climate changes. Today, the landscape is characterised by many, as well as long, traditions within agriculture. The sites of cultural heritage makes early settlements evident, as well as it testifies to the fact that agriculture has taken place for thousands of years.
Mjøsa has been an attractive lake with great historic significance, given that the place was a great source to wealth. The lake has also been an attractive place for men and women who were “fishing” for happiness during the bright summer nights. It was not rare to get lucky with a person from the “other side”
Few people have described this as good as Alf Prøysen in «Så seiler vi på Mjøsa»:
En føle seg så liten
og Mjøsa er så stor
Og holken driv på måfå og jamne ut sitt spor
Og “rekstved og tang”
og “kjoltøy på fang”
Kjem snilt som rim på “Brumunddal’n og Vang”
Did you know that…
Stokke Nedre was earlier a part of Ringsaker parish, until Redalen and Biri was transferred to Vardal parish in 1821. We are currently standing by the narrowest point of Mjøsa, and due to the short distance to the other side of the lake, it is easy to understand that the people here felt a stronger connection to Ringsaker than Vardal. The dialects on both sides of Mjøsa proves that the similarities between the people across the lake from each other were greater than to the people living further away on the same side of the lake. In January 1964, Vardal, Biri, Gjøvik and Snertingdal municipalities (earlier parishes) were united and formed into Gjøvik municipality, a new municipality.