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  • Writer's pictureHallingresort

Gol Stave Church



The original Gol stave church stands at the Norwegian Folk Museum in Oslo, and belongs to the reigning monarch of Norway at any given time. Investigations indicate that the church was built after 1216, and has elements as early as 1157.


Old Gol stave church

The original Gol stave church stands at the Norwegian Folk Museum in Oslo, and belongs to the reigning monarch of Norway at any given time. Investigations indicate that the church was built after 1216, and has elements as early as 1157. The old stave church site is located in the hamlet where Gol was at the time, up in the hill a short distance from Gol Church. The stave church was in use until 1881, when Gol got a new church. Gol Stavkirke began to deteriorate strongly beyond the 19th century. The church was then also heavily rebuilt, due to the increased need for space. In 1882, the church was sold to the "Association for the preservation of Norwegian monuments of the past". The church was then moved to Bygdøy Kongsgaard, today the Norwegian Folk Museum. The church was brought back to its original shape and size. When building the folk museum, there were doubts about the reconstruction, and Borgund Stavkyrkje in Sogn was used as a model. Borgund Stavkyrkje is considered the sister church of Gol Stavkyrkje. One thinks it may be the same craftsmen who built these two churches.


Gol stave church consists of a nave, nave, chancel, chancel and absciss. Up on the main roof there are three roof riders.


Old building traditions

It is estimated that it was built approx. 2,000 stave churches between 1150 and 1350. With a sparsely populated Norway, this had to be an enormous achievement. This means that 10 stave churches were built a year. The achievement is no less when you consider that all construction was done by hand. The tool used was an axe.


This was at a time when Norway had just become Christian and one had not received the right faith yet. It is interesting to see some Norse symbols that are useful in the church. Thor's hammer above the entrance. Dragons on the roof, Odin, Thor and others who stand and hold up the roof of the church (the masts). Why these symbols have appeared in a Christian church, no one knows. History says that the Norwegians were uncertain about the new faith, and wanted to have "one foot" in the Norse faith for safety's sake.


One reckons it was a team of craftsmen who traveled around and led the work on the stave churches. When you study the construction, there is much that reminds you of boat building and it is precisely here that these craftsmen have gained through building Viking ships and other boats over the centuries. Therefore, he had the right expertise to carry out buildings that are some of the best in wooden architecture.


New Gol Stave Church

Gol Stavkyrkje - which stands here on Storeøyne (the island) - is a copy of Gol Stavkyrkje on Bygdøy. The church was completed in 1994 and consecrated on 10 July. One problem with copying a stave church today is that the old coarse pine forest is gone. It is difficult to find suitable materials. Behind the work on copying Gol Stavkirke lies approx. 10 man-years. The church was built by local craftsmen. The wooden shed on the building and the inventory was carried out by telemarker Hans Slettemeås. Most of the wood is taken from the valley. The textile work on the abscissa wall is made by textile artist Karin Stang. The man behind the project is siv.ing Torbjørn Rustberggard from Gol.


Stave church.

- Why is it called stave church? The reason is the solid masts (staves) that hold up the church. The stave principle is a standing wall panel (tile) that is enclosed with lintels above and below, and with corner columns at each end.


Exhibition

An exhibition about stave churches and stave church architecture was created in 2023.

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