Hopperstad Stave Church

Vik, Norway

Hopperstad Stave Church is assumed to have been built around 1130 and still stands at its original location. The church is owned by the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Norwegian Monuments.

In 1997, a series of samples from the logs were collected for dendrochronological dating of the church. A total of seven samples produced an estimate for the construction ranging from 1034 to 1116 and resulted in no definite conclusion. The only possible conclusion is that this is one of the oldest stave churches still standing.

About 700 years after its construction the church was abandoned and its exterior stripped. The church was in very poor condition for many years until the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Norwegian Monuments purchased the building in 1880. Using the Borgund Stave Church as a model, architect Peter Andreas Blix reconstructed the church between 1884 and 1891. During the reconstruction carved sections were found beneath the floor which indicates that the new church replaced an older church, which was probably built in the latter half of the 11th century.

The church had not undergone any major changes until the 17th century. At that time the nave was lengthened to the west, and a bell-tower was added above the new extension. To the east a log section was added, and a new vestibule to the south with its own entrance.

The largest addition came to the north with a log construction, named the new church (nykirken). The constructions were finalized in the 18th century, but then removed in around 1875. The font is placed under the medieval baldaquin. The walls are painted by numerous quotes from the Holy Scripture in vivid colours.

The church is a triple-nave stave church of what is known as the Borgund-type. It has three portals, and the western portal is an excellent example of Middle Age wood carving. The motifs are of a romance character, often associated with European influence. The nave is a raised central room with an aisle around it, and the choir is apsidal and narrower than the nave.

The church contains an altar dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and 14th-century ciborium with a baldachin on the north side. The ciborium has four sculptured heads, that of Christ with a halo, a queen, a king, and a monk. The roof of the baldachin bears a painting of the birth of Christ.

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Details

Founded: c. 1130
Category: Religious sites in Norway

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Kay Smith (2 years ago)
Such a dark beautiful church in a picturesque setting
Elizabeth Krogue (3 years ago)
Located in a beautiful area. The old church is amazing to see. Make sure check the hours before going.
Sharon Williams (3 years ago)
This was a very special stave. I think I liked it more than the others because of its location and lack of other tourists. However, we visited late in the season. It was simply beautiful!!!
E Gray (3 years ago)
This is a great example of a stave church that is in its original site. It has been partially restored, but most of the wood is original. There are some examples of original interior paintings as well. Guided tours can be arranged.
cindy (4 years ago)
Great example of a stave church. The guide told us with passion about his church and the history. We walked around it and inside, which was also very nice. Lucky this one is still standing and hasn't been taken down in the past
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