Mandag Voyages: Urnes Stave Church in Lustrafjorden, Norway

4/26/2010 12:42:00 AM ·

Urnes Stave Church is one of the oldest surviving examples of a stave church. This particular traditional style reflects one of Norway's contributions to architecture.

The ornate decoration on the church have been given their name according to the style, which is Urnes style. The location of Urnes Stave Church is legendary. Situated in a glacial valley and designed in a way that its true nature is one of a kind, has placed this structure on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

If you plan to take a trip to Norway, you mustn't miss Urnes Stave Church which is located in the southern part of Norway, close to the edge of Fjord. You can't miss it, with its spectacular snow capped mountains as a backdrop.

The History of Urnes Stave Church

Urnes dates back to 1130, with its timbers being felled between 1129 and 1131. Many people believe it was used as a private church for a powerful family, the Ornes. Archaeological evidence and research on the site suggests that two other churches were present predating Urnes. The second church was incorporated carefully into what we see today.

Around the late 11th century, the door panels were intricately carved with interlaced ribbon snakes and dragons. A strange mix of designs to be sure. This style, however, had been adapted in stonework and metalwork, and it was widely copied in the areas where the Vikings traveled.

The Architecture

The type of architecture takes its name from the upright posts that form the framework of the church.The area around the center of the nave is raised so that the multiple roofs are slightly reminiscent of a pagoda. There are also shingles, finials, and external galleries. The roof, as far as what the consensus is, is less spectacular than the door panels, which were taken from the second church.

The Artistry

Picture Sources

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