Between the years 1100 and 1300s, there were about 1000 stave churches built along the old trade routes in Norway. The Borgund Stavkirke is the best preserved of any today and is a truly unique temple to visit. Take a walk through history and imagine the time when Nordic Gods and Viking warriors prevailed in the land. The Vikings were Norse explorers. Many were violent brutes with an intrepid sense of adventure. Romantic, but noble savages some might say, large built huskies of Germanic origin.
As Christianity spread into the Norwegian lands, heathen gods disappeared, however, the architecture of the stave church reflects Viking longboat style. The use of dark timbers, pointed gables and ornately carved dragonheads decorate these Christian places of worship. The 3-level tower resembles a pagoda, but with roof pine shingles. Norway pines are likewise used in the post and beam construction with the stave, edge-to-edge strips of wood, predominant. As with the Viking ships, woodcut animals create rich and impressive decoration.
This truly amazing temple is dedicated to St. Andrew and remains unchanged since it was built in the Middle Ages. As ornate as it is exteriorly, the inside is simple. There is not even a bench, but merely an altar and pulpit. To visit this stave church is an experience of rare design, birthed in Viking history and architecture, but living for a century of Christian lineage. Whether you visit during the plush greenery of summer or the snowy beauty of winter, your Norwegian memory of the Borgund Stavkirke, Norway will be vivid among all your travels.