Hopperstad stave church

One of the two oldest stave churches in Norway


Riksvei 13, Viksøyri i Sogn


61.077476475148, 6.5688247736821

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Hopperstad Stave Church (Hopperstad stavkirke) in Vikøyri in Vik, is together with Urnes stave church, the oldes stave church in Norway. It is built around 1130 and still stands at its original location. The church is currently owned by the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Norwegian Monuments.


The earliest existing historical records of the church date back to the year 1322. The first church at Hopperstad was likely a small, wooden stave church that was built during the mid-11th century. Possibly around the year 1060. This church was torn down and replaced with the present church during the early- to mid-12th century. Possibly between the years 1130 and 1150. In 1982, archaeological evidence was found showing post holes for the large staves that support the idea of a previous church on the site. Again in 1997, a series of samples from the logs were collected for dendrochronological dating of the church. A total of seven samples produced an estimate for the construction ranging from 1034 to 1116. However, this supports the idea that the materials from the old church were used in the construction of the present church.

Abandoned after 700 years

In 1877, after about 700 years in use, the old church was abandoned. The church had been in very poor condition for many years. Three years after its closure, the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Norwegian Monuments purchased the building in 1880. All the “new” additions were torn down, leaving just the medieval building still standing. Using the Borgund Stave Church as a model, architect Peter Andreas Blix reconstructed the church between 1884 and 1891. During the reconstruction, carved sections were found beneath the floor which indicated that the new church replaced an older church, which was probably built in the latter half of the 11th century. During the reconstruction, the nave, and choir were left alone and the apse, corridors, and roof were all rebuilt. All the newly rebuilt areas were based on similar existing stave churches, such as the Borgund Stave Church and the Urnes Stave Church. Since its completion in 1891, the church has been used primarily as a museum.

Replica in the USA

There is a replica of the Hopperstad Stave Church at the Heritage Hjemkomst Center in the city of Moorhead in the state of Minnesota in the United States. It was consecrated in 1998. The replica church is part of a larger complex that includes a museum and Scandinavian heritage centre.

YouTube video by JP – Travels

Other locations in this part of Norway:

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