Viking Urnes Church: The Most Beautiful One Standing

Viking Urnes Stave Church

Viking Urnes Church is not simply famous for its look but also its meaning. This church marked the end of the Viking age also the Viking Urnes style. The construction was between the time when Christians dominated the Vikings. Therefore, this church carries some Christian traits. Yet, from my personal perspective, this Viking Urnes Church forever belongs to the Viking Age.

The Urnes Stave Church dated back from 12th century in Ornes, along the Lustrafjorden in the municipality of Luster in Vestland county, Norway. This church stands to the eastern side of the fjord. According to the scholars, this church is the oldest one still standing in Norway where the story of Harald Fairhair began.

Viking Urnes Church seen from outside
Viking Church seen from outside

The building seemingly got the inspiration from the medieval Christian churches. The decoration on capitals of the columns and outside of the church embodies the visual evidence of the Viking culture’s transformation, assimilation, and adoption of Christianity.

People have not been using the church for ordinary purpose since 1881. Currently, the church is only used to hold special occasions such as baptism or weddings. Interventions to the church building for religious and practical needs have been carried over the centuries. These interventions are still clearly visible; they have provided authentic testimony to social life and religious practices in Norway. Now, Urnes Stave Church is one of the most popular tourist sites in Norway.

inside the Viking Urnes Stave Church
Inside the church
One post of the church
One post of the church
The outside door of the Church
The outside door of the Church
Viking Urnes Church
Viking Urnes Style on the carvings outside
Drawing by Johan Christian Dahl
Drawing by Johan Christian Dahl

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