Gol stave church crowns a hill on Bygdöy just outside of Oslo, Norway. It was moved into the area that is the Norwegian Folke Museum in 1881, from its original location at Gol, Hallingdal in Norway. The locals in Gol wanted a new, fresher and fancier church and so they built a new one and gave their old one away. I'm... not gonna judge.
The building has undergone renovations and reconstructions during the years that have passed, but the oldest timbers in the church are dendrochronologically dated to the ample years of 1157 and 1214-1215 and it is believed that the church was built around time due to stylistic conformity. When the church was reassembled at Bydgöy, they looked over the parts and tried to restore it to what they believed was the original 13th-century style.
The paintings in the chancel are originals from 1652 and some other parts have been restored after examples from other stave churches, like Borgund and Hopperstad stave churches.
I don't know about you, but I love these things. There are 28 stave churches left in Norway and I want to see them all. Every one of them. I've always wanted to visit Norway to cruise around and stare stupidly at nature and old things, and now I've gotten at least a little taste of what our neighbouring country has to offer.
The ambiance in the room when all the other tourists cleared out was stunning. The light seeping in through the narrow doors, accenting the warmth in the wooden interior with its elaborate carvings. The solid walls silencing the outside sound of people moving about. Your gaze is drawn along the pillars and upwards, to find new details and decorations as you let yourself be swept away in their intricacy.
Enormous power statements like cathedrals and churches, stretching vaults set in stone, golden chandeliers towering above you as you walk silently along the aisles yields a special feeling, but lingering in this space is resonating much more with me.
The worn floor has been trampled by tourists for 140 years, but you can still feel the everyday Christian visitor from eras long lost. Almost nine hundred years ago they built this very church, in a time that blends together with the Viking age, in a time that was so very different from the world we live in today.