NEARLY 800 YEARS OLD AND STILL STANDING TALL

Heddal Stave Church.
Photo: Tom Thowsen 2020

I`m talking about the biggest Stave Church in Norway, where some of the wooden structures have survived since it was ready in the mid-1200s — some 800 years ago — which is quite impressing

Due to the ongoing worldwide pandemic that hunts us all, I decided to travel in my homeland this summer. I went back to my roots in Telemark, to visit the Church where some of my relatives lie buried. The Amazing Heddal Stave Church.

Once seen, never forgotten.

Look for yourself

A chair from the church.
Photo: Anders Kvåle Rue

Some features in this monumental building are breathing Viking age. Did I hear someone saying WOW? — Yes it`s true, in this once a Roman Catholic Church, there are traces of the old paganism. The dragonheads, for instance.

Furthermore, there is a legend telling about the erection of the church. And fasten your seatbelt, please — it was a troll who built it. Just three days of construction!

Oh, by the way, Finn Fagerlokk(Fairhair) is his name. He could not ever after stand the sound of church bells, so he moved along with his family to Himing (Lifjell). In case you need an extremely efficient house builder.

Another pagan features in this church, is Sigurd Fåvnesbane, the dragon slayer, and the shieldmaiden Brynhild.

The heads at the top of these columns are also pagan decorations.
Photo: Christian Barth
Old taggers, using runic letters.
Photo: Tom Thowsen 2020
A door decorated with Viking style patterns.
Photo: Tom Thowsen
A thick layer of tar for preservation.
Photo: Tom Thowsen 2020

Though it can feel magical with the troll, he owes us an explanation of how he managed to build this church, in just three days, which have lasted for almost eight hundred years.

Psst, here you have a clue for the durability. Tar galore.

Another thing – he cheated. It demanded years of preparations. He had to choose the right trees in the forest, take the bark off them, let them bleed resin while they were still growing. And finally, after several years of waiting, he cut them down – with other words: A time-consuming prosses beyond our modern people’s imagination. That is the real story. Thankfully for us, someone cared, thank God.

Heddal Stave Church in its surroundings.
Tom Thowsen 2020

4 tanker om “NEARLY 800 YEARS OLD AND STILL STANDING TALL”

  1. Would love to visit this church. My husband, Larry’s, 4th Great Grandfather, Halvor Knudsen was born in Laardal, Telemark, Norway in 1710, married Siri Knudsdtr in Laardal abt 1734, and died (in ?), Telemark, Norway in 1747.

    Likt av 1 person

    1. Hi Louise, thank you for sharing this with me. I`m glad you love this Church, and I wish that you and Larry can visit there. My 21-year-old son was very fond of seeing this amazing building, and my wife too.

      Likt av 1 person

    1. Hi Elaine, thank you for sharing this with me. Great to hear that your family roots also are from Telemark. It makes it even more special to have this in mind when one is visiting this church, as I felt it—one extra dimension.

      Liker

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