Lyse Abbey, or Saint Mary’s Abbey, Lyse, was built in 1146 by monks from Fountains Abbey Yorkshire, England in 1146, and was in operation until 1536. This was the first Cistercian monastery in Norway. There were five Cistercian monasteries in Norway in the Middle Age – Hovedøya Abbey in the Oslo fjord, Tautra Abbey on the island Tautra outside Trondheim, Nonneseter Abbey in Bergen and Munkeby Abbey in Nord-Trøndelag.
The farmland on which the monastery was build, was a gift from gift from Sigurd,
Bishiop of Bergen. It became one of the largest goods in Norway, although not as large
as the monastery outside Oslo. It was the monks from Lyse Abbey that brought fruit cultivation to Hardanger.
Today, it is of course only ruins left, but they draw a good picture of the size and architecture. In the centuies after the monastery closed, the stones from the monastery were reused in other places, such as the Rosenkrantz Tower in Bergen and Kronborg Castle in Helsingør, Denmark.
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