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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Founded: 1150
Category: Religious sites in Norway

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Konstantinos Bouropoulos (11 months ago)
It arrived very early to take the ferry and the church was closed. Magnificent from the outside though...
Jan-Willem Jonker (12 months ago)
Nice church at a cemetery, flowers at every grave. Access costs 220 NOK for a family and 200 NOK for a book about the stave churches. See it as cultural heritage support.
Andre Matarazzo (13 months ago)
Beautiful but closed. Electric fence all around it for some reason.
Sid Needler (2 years ago)
Interesting building dating back 12 century, only 28 of these churches left in Norway, if you get the opportunity to visit one do so.
unai Para (2 years ago)
Maybe a bit expensive (but is how norway is). Everything else was very good and the guide who explained us different things about the church was very kind☺️.
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