Rost Travel Guide

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On the tip of Lofoten, jutting out into sea, about 100 km to the west of Bodø and 115 to the north of the Arctic Circle, we come to Røst and its 365 islands, holms and skerries. The largest of them, with it´s highest point just barely 12 m above sea level, is Røstlandet. Further south, the islands of Storfjellet, Vedøya, Trenyken and Hærnyken loom like gigantic monuments in the water.

Mount Storfjellet is the highest of these mountains, reaching a height of 259 metres above sea level. The entire population of this municipality is to be found on Røstlandet and a couple of lesser islands with which it is connected by roads. Here, too, we find the municipal administration offices, a primary school, a nursery, shops, restaurant, post office, bank, air strip, and fish landing facilities.

The great ocean itself, and what is left of the Gulf Stream, leaves its mark on Røst, with mild winters and cool summers. Coupled with relentless winds, the climate is ideal for the production of the island´s most important export commodity, stockfish. From January to April large amounts of cod are brought ashore and hanged on racks, to be processed by the weather and turned into first class products.

Preparatory to the export of this excellent commodity, a number of people are employed in the process, both in spring and summer. Røst is more dependent on fish than most other municipalities in the country. In fact, not many municipalities in Norway produce export articles for larger sums per inhabitant than Røst.

There are daily flights between Bodø and Røst. Good corresponding flights. Also direct flights between Røst and Leknes. Ferry link between Bodø, Værøy and Moskenes. The direct crossing from Bodø to Røst takes about 4 hours on the ferry and 20 minutes by air.

The scenery on Røstlandet, covered as it is by flat pastures, marshes and innumerable fresh and brackish lakes and ponds, contrasts sharply with the towering, steep bird cliffs that rise out of the sea towards the southwest. Nowhere else in Norway will you find as many nesting sea birds as on these islands.

The Church Spire

In January 1835 Røst Church (built around 1825) was blown down by a hurricane. According to eye witnesses the roof was swept off, with the spire and the bells attached to it. The spire is still there, in the cemetery, and is a reliable navigation point for ships off the coast.

The Church Ruins

The church itself was consecrated 5 May 1839 by a bishop, the Right Rev. Kierschow, whereas the choir and sacristy were consecrated in 1883. In building their church out of stone, people felt they were safeguarding it from storms. It was constructed along lines laid down by the architect H.D.F. Lindstows for the country´s churches in general, but is presumed to have been the only church of its kind to be made of stone. It was used until 1900, as it was considered too small and demolished the year after by Royal decree.

Today´s church was inaugurated in 1900.

The Triptych

The triptych in Røst Church is one of five triptychs given by the Dutch Princess Elizabeth to Norwegian Churches along the rugged coast. This was a gift of gratitude to the powers above for having shielded her during a storm, on her sea journey to Copenhagen to become the bride and queen of Christian II. In 1520, the triptych arrived in Røst, where it has probably adorned five different churches thus far.

Pietro Querini

This was a Venetian nobleman, shipwrecked in the North Sea during the early winter of 1431/32, on a journey from Crete to Flanders. A life boat with survivors from the wreck drifted ashore on the uninhabited island Sandøy, outside Røst. The survivors were found, in very poor condition, in January 1432. They stayed on till spring, and then left on ships carrying stockfish. The Italians´ narratives of conditions on Røst at the time is one of the most important descriptions we have about the lives of ordinary people in North Norway during the Middle Ages. A monument to commemorate Querini and his companions was unveiled on Sandøy, 10 July 1932.

Bird Nesting Colonies

The steep and towering islands southwest of the populated island of Røstlandet, are "home" for the largest number of nesting birds in all of Norway, - with approximately one fourth of the country´s seabird population. A "census" taken in 1992 shows a population of 2,5 million adults birds.

During the summer, there are daily boat trips to the nesting colonies. On the island of Vedøya, you can see the remnants of early settlement, showing that the island was probably an old fishing and hunting station. Bird lovers and researchers, both at home and abroad, regularly visit these ornithologically important islands. Moreover, a book about the birds on Røst has been published in Norwegian, English, German and French.

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September 20, 2006 change by giorgio

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