Reinli Stave Church

Third church built on same location


Fv221 1210, 2933 Reinli


60.8314646, 9.493041

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Reinli stave church built around 1190 is not the first church built on its location in Bagn in Valdres. It’s not the second either… But third!

The first references made to a church at Reinli comes from King Olaf Haraldsson who traveled through Valdres in the year 1023 and also visited Reinli. It is believed that there was a pagan temple at the same location before the first church was erected. The first church was possibly a wooden post church that was built during the early 11th century. Modern archaeologists have found evidence that this church burned down before the present church was constructed.

The Reinli stave church follows a plan set by continental churches in monasteries. The choir also has an apse, which is believed to be a little newer than the rest of the building, although some details in the building’s history seem unclear. The church (other than the apse) measures approximately 11.5 by 5.6 meters (38 ft × 18 ft). There is an open-air corridor that surrounds the whole church. Later the church was rebuilt by Sira Thord, who is buried beneath the south-east entrance. The church is generally assumed to be close to its original configuration, although some sources dispute this.

Almost demolished

In 1734, it was decided to demolish the stave church and build a new church on Bagnsmoen for Reinli and Bagn (where the local stave church disappeared a few decades earlier). After protests from Reinli, however, the Reinli stave church remained standing, and a new Bagn Church was built at Bagn, and that church became the main church for the parish.

The church underwent interior changes in 1884–1885. By the mid-20th century, discussions again took place about the future of the old stave church. It did not have electricity for heating or lighting, and it was quite old and small. It was decided to built a new church and maintain the old church as a museum. In 1965, a new Reinli Chapel was built across the road from the ancient stave church. The new chapel replaced the stave church as the parish church for Reinli. Since then, the stave church is only used for special occasions in the summers. Restoration work was done on the exterior in 1976–1977.

Of medieval fixtures, only the altarpiece and the baptismal font are left in the church. An old pillory stands outside the church, but is no longer in use. On 17 May 1845 its use was formally abandoned when the old medieval law was changed.

Source: Wikipedia

In the area

Reinli stave church is located in the most “stave church rich” part of Norway. If you plan a round-trip, you can actually visit 9 stave churches in a day or two; Hedalen, Reinli, Hegge, Lomen, Høre, Borgund, Torpo and Gol (replica). You can even include two great roads; Fanitullvegen and Panoramavegen.


Other locations in this part of Norway:

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