Norway’s Norse-Inspired Urnes Stave Church Is Almost 900 Years Old


Believed to be the oldest Norwegian stave church nonetheless standing, Urnes Stave Church deep in Norway’s fjord nation is a spotlight of any Norwegian highway journey itinerary. The view out throughout the Lustrafjord, an arm of the well-known Sognefjord, conjures up photos of departing Viking expeditions and Norse settlements lengthy gone.

Upon first strategy, the church seems to be easy in design. However up shut, guests see the Romanesque fashion constructing adorned with fascinating carvings. It’s additionally in remarkably good situation for its age. Archaeologists date the church to the 1130s, though latest proof suggests it may very well be even older.

Some newer touches embody a Seventeenth-century extension and new home windows put in extra lately, however the core of the church is because it was many tons of of years in the past.

An indication of adjusting instances

You do not have to be of any religion to understand Norway’s 28 remaining stave church buildings. As their design tells the story of Norway’s transition from the Norse folks of the Viking Age to the period of Christianity, these church buildings are simply as fascinating for anybody with a passing curiosity in historical past or structure.

The wooden carvings are based mostly on common Viking Age artwork and craftsmanship. Such is their placing nature, the carvings are actually often known as the Urnes fashion.

Archaeologists consider it’s the fourth such constructing to face on the identical website, suggesting it was a sacred website lengthy earlier than Christianity was launched to Norway throughout the latter a part of the Viking Age.

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There’s extra acquainted Christian imagery contained in the church. A bunch of figures depicting Jesus struggling on the cross in entrance of Mary and John dates from the twelfth century. The church is open to guests most days throughout the summer time season, which runs Could via September.

A style of life within the Norwegian fjords

To a vacationer, life within the Norwegian fjords should appear enjoyable. However the actuality of life for folks dwelling on the banks of the Lustrafjord has all the time been outlined by onerous work. In and across the village of Ornes, the farms and boathouses present how generations of individuals have made their dwelling over the centuries—and proceed to take action at present.

Different notable church buildings within the area embody the bigger Kaupanger Stave Church and the Seventeenth century previous Lutheran church at Gaupne.

Curiosity in Urnes Stave Church has elevated tremendously because it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Checklist in 1979. Attending to Urnes—situated within the village spelled Ornes—is half the enjoyable.

The way to get to Urnes Stave Church

To achieve the church from the regional capital Sogndal, take route 55 north of the city. It ought to take lower than an hour to make the 14 mile drive, which features a brief automobile ferry crossing. Verify the timetable of the Solvorn to Ornes service prematurely because it solely operates a handful of instances per day.

When visiting Ornes, be certain that to depart time to take no less than a brief drive up the coastal highway of the Lustrafjord. Higher nonetheless, proceed alongside the highway to Skjolden, from the place you may join with the nationwide scenic route Sognefjellsveien, the best mountain move in Northern Europe.


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