Røldal Stave Church was probably built between 1200-1250. The church has a rectangular-shaped nave and chancel. The crucifix dates from about 1250. The altarpiece by German painter Gottfried Hendtzchell from Wroclaw in Silesia dates from 1629. The baptismal font is made of soapstone between 1200-1250. Bergen Museum holds a variety of building components and other artifacts from the medieval church. These include alter frontal and wooden sculptures of St. Olaf from about 1250, of the Virgin Mary with child from about 1250, and the Archangel Michael, dated about 1200. In the Middle Ages, Røldal church received large donations from many of pilgrims who flocked to the church. As a result, the small village where the church is located, became quite prosperous. In the 17th century the walls inside the church were richly decorated with paintings.
During reconstruction of the church in 1844, some of the history of the church was uncovered. This led to an investigation to determine how the church was built. The resulting belief is that Røldal stave church was quite different from other stave churches. Some controversy developed about whether this is in fact a stave church or rather an example of the assumed predecessor type, a post church.
During the period 1913-1918, the church underwent an extensive church renovation and restoration. Paneling from the 19th century were removed and Renaissance interior restored. A new gallery around the church was also built to protect the wall tables. The church reconstruction was led by Norwegian architect Jens Zetlitz Monrad Kielland (1866–1926), while the color restoration was performed by Norwegian painter Domenico Juul Erdmann (1879–1940), who was assisted by Norwegian painter Alfred Obert Hagn (1882–1958), and Danish-Norwegian artist Adolph Ulrik Hendriksen (1891–1960).References:
Medvedgrad is a medieval fortified town located on the south slopes of Medvednica mountain, approximately halfway from the Croatian capital Zagreb to the mountain top Sljeme. For defensive purposes it was built on a hill, Mali Plazur, that is a spur of the main ridge of the mountain that overlooks the city. On a clear day the castle can be seen from far away, especially the high main tower. Below the main tower of the castle is Oltar Domovine (Altar of the homeland) which is dedicated to Croatian soldiers killed in the Croatian War of Independence.
In 1242, Mongols invaded Zagreb. The city was destroyed and burned to the ground. This prompted the building of Medvedgrad. Encouraged by Pope Innocent IV, Philip Türje, bishop of Zagreb, built the fortress between 1249 and 1254. It was later owned by bans of Slavonia. Notable Croatian and Hungarian poet and ban of Slavonia Janus Pannonius (Ivan Česmički) died in the Medvedgrad castle on March 27, 1472.
The last Medvedgrad owners and inhabitants was the Gregorijanec family, who gained possession of Medvedgrad in 1562. In 1574, the walls of Medvedgrad were reinforced, but after the 1590 Neulengbach earthquake, the fortress was heavily damaged and ultimately abandoned. It remained in ruins until the late 20th century, when it was partly restored and now offers a panoramic view of the city from an altitude of over 500 meters.