Kaupanger Stave Church

Kaupanger, Norway

Kaupanger Stave Church is the largest stave church in Sogn og Fjordane. The nave is supported by 22 staves, 8 on each of the longer sides and 3 on each of the shorter. The elevated chancel is carried by 4 free standing staves. The church has the largest number of staves to be found in any one stave church. It is still in use as a parish church, having been in use continuously since its erection.

Kaupanger Stave Church was built in the 12th century, and is situated on the ruins of what might be two previous post churches. Kaupanger was a market town that King Sverre burned down in 1184 to punish the local inhabitants for disobeying him. It was previously thought that the stave church previously standing on this site burned down in this fire, as archaeological research in the 1960s revealed that the previous church had burned down. The present church was therefore believed to have been built around 1190. Recent research has changed these assumptions. Dendrochronology has shown that the timber used for building the church was cut in 1137. Also, Sverris saga makes no mention of the burning of the church at the time the town was burnt. Consequently, it is now assumed that the church was built around 1150.

Several restoration projects have taken place both inside the church and on the exterior, but in spite of these changes, the medieval construction has been preserved. The pulpit, altarpiece and font are all from the 17th century. In 1984, composer Arne Nordheim was inspired by the neumes and the sound of the medieval bells in Kaupanger stave church in composing the work Klokkesong, which was first performed inside the church as part of the 800th commemoration of the Battle of Fimreite.

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Details

Founded: 1150
Category: Religious sites in Norway

Rating

4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jo Lee (2 years ago)
This Stave Church is very beautiful on its own, with the vast landscape surrounding it, making it even more serene. It is pity that it was not open when we were there. Nevertheless, do take time to walk around and appreciate the nature and environment.
Claire Slater (2 years ago)
Fascinating building
Ella Krivelis (2 years ago)
An interesting old church. Nice view of the area.
Hana Shehzad (2 years ago)
Church is beautiful from outside. It's pity that we reached late so we could go inside. They close quiet early at 4 pm.
Wim van Oorspronk (3 years ago)
Very nice Stave Church. The from origin "french" guide, makes it a nice visit because he told some information of the history of the Stave Church, as well as some basic principles about what is a Stave Church. He showed some nice stuff. So it's a big 4 star review for a church in a nice environment.
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Kalozha Church

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.