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

Franzi Trausel (3 months ago)
Maybe adapt your opening hours on googleMaps, so people won’t make a detour to stop by and then the lady closes everything 10-5 minutes early.
Anders Mikkelsen (4 months ago)
Very good for thinking back to the time from Viking to Christianity
Ann-Evy Hagen (Annie) (4 months ago)
A beautiful church. Thank you to Olve for guiding
Hakan Andersson (5 months ago)
The Stave Church is very nicely preserved considering that it was built around 1130. Well worth a visit. I can also recommend an old stone church in the same village.
Vibeke (16 months ago)
Beautiful! I recommend getting the guided talk for about 15 mins. They will show hidden details like runes etc. So cool! Worth it.
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