Upper Telemark

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Bratsberg with Upper and Lower Telemark

Upper Telemark (Norwegian: Øvre Telemark) is a Norwegian region comprising the inland of Telemark. More than two thirds of the total area of Telemark, or above 10,000 square kilometres, belong to the traditional region of Upper Telemark. Conversely, Lower Telemark refers to the more densely populated, flatter coastal area of Grenland and traditionally also includes Central Telemark. Øvre Telemark has a varied and often scenic landscape, with many hills, mountains, valleys and lakes. Traditionally, Upper Telemark includes today's municipalities Vinje, Tokke, Seljord, Fyresdal, Kviteseid, Nissedal, Tinn and Hjartdal. Upper Telemark comprises a provostship in the state Church of Norway, Upper Telemark provostship (Norwegian: Øvre Telemark prosti), which now comprises 12 municipalities and more than 80% of Telemark (more than 12,000 square kilometres), making it one of the largest provostships in Norway. The provostship has existed since the middle ages, but was partitioned in two in 1838, before being reunified in 2015. [1] Upper Telemark has also been a judicial district (sorenskriveri).

Upper Telemark is known for its folk traditions within music, clothing, handcrafts, food and architecture. The region is also distinctly marked by its dialect of Norwegian. This form of Norwegian is the variety containing most traces of the Old Norse language and grammar.

Whereas Lower Telemark was traditionally dominated by the burghers of the cities, Upper Telemark was for centuries dominated by a close-knit "aristocracy of officials" comprised by a handful of families which monopolized the state and church offices in the region, notably the families Paus, Blom, Ørn and Morland.[2]


  1. ^ Øvre Telemark prosti ein realitet
  2. ^ Jon Nygaard (2013). «...af stort est du kommen». Henrik Ibsen og Skien (p. 68 and p. 74). Senter for Ibsen-studier. ISBN 9788291540122