Believed to be built in the first quarter of the 13th century, and is one of the largest of the remaining stave churches in Norway. The church was expanded in the 17th century into the cruciform shape it has today.
The only remaining stave church where the nave and choir is built with the same width. Dating of the church is debatable as the dating of the wood is older than the documented erection of the building, meaning the wood has been taken from older buildings and possible an older church. Erection is estimated to be between second half of 13th century and first half of 14th century. As with most older churches, this has also underwent big interior and exterior changes through the time. The building is very well preserved and does not have electric light or heating, so it’s only open on special occasions.
Lomen stave church dates back to second half of the 12th century, and was rebuilt and enlarged in 1749. The church does not have electric light or heating, so it’s only open and used during the summer for services and weddings.
Øye Stavkirke is a triple nave stave church dated back to 12th century. The church was taken down and the pieces hidden when a new and bigger church was built in the area. The pieces was rediscovered in 1950s and the church was rebuilt in a different location a bit higher in the terrain than it was originally. The church is believed to have had a tower at some point, but its not included in the last erection.
Heddal Stave Church is one of the most visited stave churches in Norway, located just next to the E138 in Notodden in Telemark county. The church is the largest of the remaining stave churches, reaching 20 meters in length and 26 meters in height, and was built in the beginning of the 13th century.
The Borgund Stave Church is one of the most known and popular stave churches in Norway and it’s a so-called triple nave church. The church was built around 1180, and it’s one of the best preserved of the remaining ones.
On a side note, the Gustav Adolf Stave Church in Hahnenklee, Germany, was built in 1908 with the Borgund Stave Church in mind (means its similar but not a replica). In United States there is a replica in Rapid City, South Dakota, and on Washington Island, Wisconsin.
The Hopperstad Stavkirke is one of the oldest Stave Churches still standing, believed to be built about year 1130. The church was mostly unchanged until the 17th century when among others the nave was lengthened and a bell tower was added. In the end of the 19th century it was redesigned into “Borgund style”.
On a side note, there is a full scale replica of the Hopperstad Stave Church in Hjemkomst Center (Homecoming Center) in Minnesota, USA. Built as a reminder of all the Norwegians who emigrated to the Midwest area in the 19th century. The replica is one of very few remaining Stave Churches outside Norway.
Kaupanger Stave Church is located not too far from Urnes Stave Church, only little bit further out and on the other side of the Sognefjord. The church is dated back to about 1140, and has gone through several restoration projects and alterations. Of the remaining stave churches, Kaupanger is the longest and the nave has 22 staves, 8 on each of the longer sides, 3 on each of the shorter and the elevated chancel has 4.
This is the third post about Norwegian Stave Churches.
The access to Urnes Stave Church is a bit more difficult than any of the others. You can take the very narrow road on the south side of Lustrafjorden, or maybe better, take the ferry across the fjord and walk the few hundred meters up to the church. Urnes Stave Church, built about 1140, is the only Stave Church on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
This is the second post about Norwegian Stave Churches.
This is the first post in a series in a new category we will call “Stave Churches”. As this is the first post I will explain a bit what makes a Stave Church stand out compared to more normal log constructed churches. The word “stav” (stave/post in English) comes from the Old Norse “stafr”, and are given to the load bearing posts in the corners of the building. For bigger churches, they needed more posts to hold the load. Continue reading “Lom Stavkirke (Stave Church), Norway”