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.
As with most very old buildings, they have changed during the years mostly because of the rulers that would like to have their personal touch on it. “Mezquita de Córdoba” has expanded four times until it reached 24 000 m² and in the 1600th century they inserted a Renaissance Cathedral in the middle.
Even though the building is huge, it’s not easy to spot from a distance as only the bell tower and the Cathedral is quickly recognized over the surrounding buildings, which can make you believe it’s just another church.
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.
Being relatively close to where we live, the Nidaros Cathedral (Nidarosdomen) its a building we return to quite often. Every time we come there, we discover more details and hidden treasures that we haven’t noticed before.
When most people go to see the Gothic Cathedral in Trondheim, they only look at the front. Nothing wrong with that, but the building has so much more to offer. After spending some time at the front, please have a walk around it too.
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.