Heddal Stave Church is located near Notodden in Telemark, and is the largest stave church in the country. Twenty-five meters long and 17 meters wide. With its 3 spears and 29 m height, the building towers like a cathedral in wood. Some of the timber is as old as around the year 1000, but the building has been built once in the 13th century. The wood is ore pine. In Catholic times, this was a St. Mary’s Church.
The church has undergone several major renovations. During the last, in 1952 – 54, it was a wish to return to the medieval appearance. In today’s church you will find elements from the different centuries.
There have been several reconstructions of this church. The latest one, in the years 1952-1954 sought to restore it to the appearance of medieval times. In today’s church one can observe elements from the different centuries. Here are incense burner from the middle ages, an altar from 1667, as well as benches and lamps from 1950. The walls of the nave are painted with floral decoration from the 17th century. Apostles in full figure decorate the chancel. From the top of the columns, 23 friendly medieval mask heads smile down at the congregation.
Originally, three distinctive pieces of furniture were placed in the chancel, all containing motifs from the legend of Sigurd the Dragon Slayer. This myth has functioned as a link between pagan tales and Christian teachings.
The bishop’s chair is still here with carvings representing Brunhilde, and her suitors Gunnar and Sigurd on either side.
At walking distance from Heddal stave church is also Heddal bygdetun, an open-door museum with old farm houses and changing exhibitions.