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Notes on the Geography of Norway: Urnes and Borgund Stave Churches: Photo 1

world pictures Norway: Urnes and Borgund Stave Churches

You can see why Dahl got excited. A Bergen native, he moved early in his adult life to Dresden, then returned to Norway in his mid-30s and "discovered" these churches at a time when Norwegians were busily replacing them. He had no luck in persuading the people of Vang not to destroy their own stave church, but he persuaded Friederich Wilhelm IV to buy it. The church stands today where the Prussian king reassembled it in Bruckenberg, now Karpacz, Poland. Dahl also drew what he saw, and the results appeared in three volumes in 1836-7 under the title Denkmale einer sehr ausgebildeten Holzbaukunst... in den innern Landschaften Norwegens. That's all by the by. Here's the Borgund church, the "stave church of stave churches," acquired in 1877 by Dahl's Society, which removed post-Reformation alterations. The church was restored again in 1970. The material is pine, coated with tar as a preservative. The original roof was of boards, replaced in the early 1300s by reptilian shakes.

The church is about 100 miles northeast of Bergen and ten miles south of the eastern end of the Sognefjord. Built roughly between 1150 and 1200, it has the stave church's characteristic cascading or tiered roofs arrayed from the vane and belfrey to the nave roof, aisle roof, and external gallery roof. Both the belfrey and nave roofs have dragon-head gables. The church has a chancel with its owned tiered roofs and walls, and it has a curved apse with a turret, turret wall, apse roof, apse wall, and gallery roof and wall.

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