When Bishop Sigurd established the Holy Maria monastery in Lyse in 1146

He laid the foundation for something that would come to impact the district of Os for more than 700 years. The Cistercian order demanded hard working monks who took a vow of poverty. However, this did not stop the monastery from becoming both rich and powerful. The monastery took over most of the farms in Os and went on to own many other properties as well, spread from Ryfylke to Nordfjord. In Hardanger alone, the monastery took over 50 farms, the same number as in Os. When other large property owners were taken into account, there were not many independent farmers left in the district. After the reformation, the monastery changed ownership and within two centuries, gradual destruction of the buildings began. One of the owners was Erik Rosenkrantz, a Danish nobleman. He wanted to erect a monument and built the Bergen’s Rosenkrantz tower partially out of stones from the Lyse monastery. In addition, stones from the monastery can be found in the Kronborg palace in Denmark and many stones were shipped to Germany. Today, the ruins are partially restored and are, without comparison, the most visited attraction in Os.

The Monastery is a part of Lyse Kloster Farm and is thereby today a private property.


Lysekloster Opening hours:
All Year Entré: Free Approximately
10 minutes bye car/taxi from the centre of Os.
20 minutes to walk from the quay by Kafe Ole B.