Stave churches

Reinli Stave Church

The Reinli Stave Church was built some time during the 14th century. It is the third church at the same location in Reinli. The first references made to a church at this location comes from Olaf Haraldsson who travelled through Valdres in 1023, and also visited Reinli. It is believed that there was a pagan temple at the same location before the first church, some time before 1000. Through radiocarbon dating, logs in the ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Reinli, Norway

Rollag Stave Church

Rollag Stave Church was probably originally built in second half of the 12th century, though not much is left of the original church. Originally, the church has been a simple church with a rectangular nave. It was first mentioned in written sources in 1425. It was rebuilt around 1660 into a cruciform church. Around 1760, an additional lining wall was placed on top of the structure and the church was extended to the west.
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Rollag, Norway

Lomen Stave Church

Lomen stave church was built in the second half of the 12th century. Through dendrochronological dating the church has been dated to 1179, but the first reference in written sources is not until 1325 and 1334, at that time as 'Hvams kirke'. The church was rebuilt and enlarged in 1779. The church is supported by 4 columns, and has three lavishly carved portals, chancel-arches and column capitals. During the last ...
Founded: c. 1179 | Location: Lomen, Norway

Nore Stave Church

Dendrochronological dating of wood samples indicate that Nore stave church was built after 1167. The church was built with galleries, a chancel and cross naves - an architectural style that was unique in Europe during the Middle Ages. This style is called the Nummedals-type. The church also has a central mast, that was originally the support for a tower, mostly likely containing church bells. The walls and ceiling of the ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Nore og Uvdal, Norway

Høyjord Stave Church

Høyjord stave church was built in the end of the 11th century. The church was later removed once and rebuilt. Last reconstruction was completed in 1950. The church is also the only stave church which is left in the county of Vestfold.The church is one of two preserved churches having a pillar or post in the middle. In addition tho this central post there are 12 staves, all of which supports the building. Each stave ...
Founded: c. 1190 | Location: Andebu, Norway

Grip Stave Church

Grip Stave Church is one of Norway's smallest churches (it is only 12m long and 6,5m wide). The church was built in about 1470 at the island's highest point. The church is of the Møre type, being structurally similar to the larger Kvernes and Rødven stave churches. Because of the barren nature of the island, there is no cemetery on the church grounds, and bodies had to be buried elsewhere, in the cemetery of Bremsnes Ch ...
Founded: c. 1470 | Location: Smøla, Norway

Flesberg Stave Church

Flesberg stave church was probably built around 1200. The first written reference to the church is from 1359. The church was originally a single nave church with four free-standing internal posts bearing a raised central roof, surrounded by an ambulatory or aisles on all four sides. It had a narrower chancel, also with a raised central roof, and a semicircular apse. It was surrounded by a gallery loosely connected to the ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Flesberg, Norway

Hegge Stave Church

The first recorded reference to the Hegge stave church is from 1327. Dendrochronological dating of some of the logs in the church, however, indicates that the church was built around 1216. It is a basilica type church with 8 free-standing interior columns forming an arcade, surrounding a central area with a raised roof. A runic inscription on the church reads: Erling Arnson wrote these runes. The lower story of the bell ...
Founded: c. 1216 | Location: Øystre Slidr, Norway

Høre Stave Church

Høre stave church was built in 1180 and rebuilt around 1820. It is the second church on this location, the previous church was a post church (a church with earth-bound posts standing directly on the ground). It is dated through a runic inscription to 1180, and through dendrochronology to 1179. There are a number of graves under the church, including those of children. A runic inscription upon the pulpit reads: The ...
Founded: 1180 | Location: Vang, Norway

Øye Stave Church

Øye stave church is a triple nave stave church and dates from the second half of the 12th century. The church was situated next to the lake Vangsmjøse in Øye. Here, however, the river Rødøla would flood almost every spring and, corpses would be flushed out of their graves. As a result the church was moved, this time to a location further away from the river. In 1747 the church was torn d ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Vang, Norway

Hedal Stave Church

The first reference to the Hedal Stave Church is from 1327. The original church was a much smaller single nave church built second half of 12th century. The west entrance remains from the original church. The front portal is one of the oldest, most richly ornamented and among the most beautiful in the whole country. It takes the form of three winged dragons, one on each side of the arch and pilasters of the entrance and o ...
Founded: c. 1160 | Location: Sør-Aurdal, Norway

Hedared Stave Church

Hedared Stave Church is Sweden's only preserved medieval stave church. For a long time it was assumed Hedared stave church dated to early medieval times because it was built as a stave church. Already at the beginning of the 20th century, the archaeologist and architectural historian Emil Ekhoff argued that the church was considerably later than the stave church in Hemse on Gotland, fragments of which he had found under t ...
Founded: ca. 1500 | Location: Borås, Sweden

Fåvang Stave Church

Fåvang stave church is a reconstruction of parts of other churches, built 1627-1630. The oldest parts can be dated to c. 1150-1250. Because it has been extensively modified, it is not counted amongst Norways 'real' stave churches. The altar and pulpit are of Renaissance style.
Founded: 1627-1630 | Location: Fåvang, Norway

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.