Stave churches symbolize the richness of Norwegian history, art and culture. All of the remaining ones have passed the test of time. Each one is unique and a good representation of Viking creativity and craftmanship. Today, Carl and I semi-planned a roadtrip to visit 4 of the remaining 28 stave churches in Norway. All four are situated in the Viken county. Like our first roadtrip entry, we drove from the farthest destination (Uvdal) to the nearest one from home (Flesberg).
According to visitnorway.no, stave churches are characterized by the corner-posts called “staves” and a framework of timber with wall planks standing on sills. Both the interior and the exterior (esp the interior) are wonderfully decorated with carved wood.
We left home around 08:30, filled up the car with gas, and shared a breakfast sandwich in Kongsberg.
On the way to the first stave church, we stopped over to “stretch” and explore a bit the Pikerfoss Hydroelectric power station/dam in Kongsberg. We arrived at around 09:45. The station was completed in 1983, and now owned by Glitre Energi Produksjon AS. According to Carl, the dam can produce power to light about 266000 incandescent light bulbs. 🙂
A fun thing about road trips is that you can stop over anytime to stretch out and get some fresh air, and most of all, explore an area which might seem uninteresting at first. At 10:00, we passed by some draisines or railbikes for rent located in the small village of Veggli in Rollag. It seemed that the place was a popular resting center for travelers. Aside from the draisines, there’s also an old train cart which can now be rented out for sleeping. We should probably go there again at another time to try the railbikes along the 33 km-track!
At 11:50, we reached Nore og Uvdal Bygdetun (Nore and Uvdal village), where the Uvdal stavkirke (stave church) is located. It was like a big open-air museum, with most of the traditional houses open for visitors. We were awed by the place — overlooking the other side of the valley! Entrance to the village was 160kr (80 kr/pax). The young receptionist gave as a brief tour of the church, which was built ca 1168. Lights were off to protect and preserve the church. The rest of the buildings, we explored by ourselves. It was also very nice that they gave out free postcards. The Postcrosser in me was pleased!
Carl and I were very satisfied with the place, and thought that it was really worth a visit! We were glad that we visited the place a little before they close for the season, so there weren’t too many people.
On the way to the next stave church, we stopped by Kiwi in Rødberg (which is open on Sundays!) and got some knickknacks. 😛 Rødberg is located by the Rødberg dam, an affiliate of Statkraft – Norway’s state-owned electric company.
We arrived at the second stave church at 13:15. The Nore stave church was built ca 1167, using an architectural style called the Numedalstype. It is shaped in cruciform, and the interior was also teeming with interesting patterns and designs. Entrance costs 140 kr (70 kr/pax), and hey, free postcards! 🙂
Before moving on to Rollag, we had some lunch in Driv Nore. The cheeseburger was quite delicious!
The third stave church had the most expensive entrance fee (100 kr/pax = 200kr). According to the young guide, it was because the Rollag stave church, built ca 1425, is still in active use. The guide seemed very enthusiastic to tell us about the church though. There were modern lights, ventilation, red carpet, and a chandelier! Here, we learned that the seats had engraved designated family names, two benches for each family – left row for the women and right for the men. 🙂 No free postcards on this one!
We left Rollag at 14:50, and arrived at the fourth stave church for this trip at 15:20. The Flesberg stave church is believed to have been built ca 1150. Unfortunately, it was closed, and the note on the information board stated that the the staff had “hjemmekontor” / home office. Too bad… I really wanted to see the interior personally. There are pictures on the net, but I wanted to experience it myself – the red-tainted ceiling and all. Outside, the church actually looked modern, except for the red tower on top.
Just like the Rollag stave church, this one is also still in active use.
Of all the four stave churches we saw today, we both agreed that Uvdal was the best one. It was the most “stave”-looking, and we got the most worth for our money, with all the exhibited houses, the guide and the free postcards. Still, it was nice to see the three others, but there was just something lacking – no guide, too expensive, no postcards, etc.
Six years ago, I saw the Heddal stave church (the biggest one), and we will probably take that one together at another time. I also want to visit the other 23, which are scattered all over the country.
Before finally driving home, we said hello to these farmy animals from afar. 🙂 Until next roadtrip! ❤
(ALL PHOTOS ARE MINE.)