Fantoft Stave Church

Bergen, Norway

Fantoft Stave Church is a reconstructed stave church, originally built in Fortun in Sogn around the year 1150. In the 19th century the church was threatened by demolition, as were hundreds of other stave churches in Norway. The church was bought by consul Fredrik Georg Gade and saved by moving it in pieces to Fantoft near (now in) Bergen in 1883. Outside the church stands a stone cross from Tjora in Sola.

On 6 June 1992, the church was destroyed by arson; the first in a string of church burnings by members of the early Norwegian black metal scene. At first, the fire was thought to have been caused by lightning or an electrical failure. In 1994, Varg Vikernes of the one-man band Burzum was found guilty of burning Åsane Church and Storetveit Church in Bergen, the burning of Skjold Church in Vindafjord, and the burning of Holmenkollen Chapel in Oslo. He was also charged with the burning of Fantoft stave church, although the jurors voted not guilty. The judges called this an error but did not overthrow the whole case. A photograph of the church's burnt shell appears on the cover of the 1993 Burzum EP Aske (Norwegian for 'ashes'). According to Vikernes, the church was burnt as retaliation against Christianity for building a church on sacred, pagan grounds. Reconstruction of the church began soon after the fire and was completed in 1997.

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Details

Founded: 1150
Category: Religious sites in Norway

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Irad Medina (2 years ago)
The church was unfortunately closed for constructions, but it's nice to see from the outside. Parking is at the bottom of the hill, and there's a short walk with stairs to get there.
John A whelan (2 years ago)
Small historical very small, if you are in the area well worth a visit, stop by and say a little prayer.
Dominik Halley (2 years ago)
Nice small Church. Its worth a visit!
Hanna Wolter (2 years ago)
Beautiful stave church, in my opinion one of the best out of the 23 that exist around Norway. It's quite hidden at the top of a little hill in the middle of the woods which you need to walk uphill (takes only 10min but not wheelchair accessible). There are hardly any tourists and you need to pay to enter it. Only 3 stars because the church is surrounded by a fence ruining all the pictures and the romantic setting.
Kelley Smith (2 years ago)
Fun little slice of architecture. Although this is a rebuild, you can still get a sense of history when visiting. Cashiers were very helpful with history and information, visit was free with our Bergen Card. Signage to this place could be better. After putting the address into the GPS, it was not obvious that it was down a secretive walking trail in the woods.
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The Kalozha church of Saints Boris and Gleb is the oldest extant structure in Hrodna. It is the only surviving monument of ancient Black Ruthenian architecture, distinguished from other Orthodox churches by prolific use of polychrome faceted stones of blue, green or red tint which could be arranged to form crosses or other figures on the wall.

The church is a cross-domed building supported by six circular pillars. The outside is articulated with projecting pilasters, which have rounded corners, as does the building itself. The ante-nave contains the choir loft, accessed by a narrow gradatory in the western wall. Two other stairs were discovered in the walls of the side apses; their purpose is not clear. The floor is lined with ceramic tiles forming decorative patterns. The interior was lined with innumerable built-in pitchers, which usually serve in Eastern Orthodox churches as resonators but in this case were scored to produce decorative effects. For this reason, the central nave has never been painted.

The church was built before 1183 and survived intact, depicted in the 1840s by Michał Kulesza, until 1853, when the south wall collapsed, due to its perilous location on the high bank of the Neman. During restoration works, some fragments of 12th-century frescoes were discovered in the apses. Remains of four other churches in the same style, decorated with pitchers and coloured stones instead of frescoes, were discovered in Hrodna and Vaŭkavysk. They all date back to the turn of the 13th century, as do remains of the first stone palace in the Old Hrodna Castle.

In 2004, the church was included in the Tentative List of UNESCO"s World Heritage Sites.