Friday, February 15, 2013

Hopperstad Stave Church, Norway

I love Norway's medieval wooden churches, and it was hard to choose one to feature as my medieval church of the week. I settled on Hopperstad, built around 1130. I chose it because of its famous medieval carvings, which I will get to below. Today, as you can see, the church also looks spectacular from a distance.

Sadly, this is the largely the result of a "restoration" undertaken in the 1880s. In 1880 it looked like this. Inspired by not-very-sound ideas about what the church "probably" looked like before time and Protestantism took their toll, the rebuilders remodeled the roof along the lines of the famous church at Borgund.

But if the rebuilding was not authentic, it sure is gorgeous.

But Hopperstad does retain many original features. The interior is the most intact of any medieval church in Norway.

And the completely authentic west portal is surrounded by amazing carvings.

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