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Uvdal Stave Church (Uvdal stavkirke) is situated at Uvdal in the beautiful valley Numedal along the great riding road Road 40 in Buskerud. The stave church was originally constructed just after the year 1168. This is known through dendrochronological dating of the ore-pine used in the construction. The logs were not completely dry when the construction took place.
An archeological excavation that took place during 1978 showed that the church was built on the remains of a previous church. It is thought to have been made with the use of embedded corner column technology at the beginning of the 11th century.
Churches made during the 12th century were usually very small, often no more than 40 square meters, and were therefore often expanded. Even during the Middle Ages and certainly just before and after the Reformation, which took place during 1537 in Norway.
The nave of the church was first expanded to the west during the Middle Ages. At the same time the original apse of the chancel was removed and the chancel itself elongated. Again, during that period, an extra center column was added. The chancel was torn down again in 1684. This was when a new and wider chancel was made, with the same width as the nave. Then, during the period 1721–1723, the church was made into a cruciform. A new ridge turret had to be made, to fit the new shape. Later, in 1819, a new vestry was added to the north wall of the chancel.
The exterior walls were paneled in 1760.
Benches with ornately decorated sidewalls were added to the nave in 1624. The oldest part of the interior was probably richly ornately decorated by painting during 1656, the expansions during 1684 and 1723. Two scary halfmasks are quite visible on the poles of the chancel, and according to myth they were able to capture demons.
The church survives today as museum piece, owned by Fortidsminneforeningen (The National Trus of Norway) since 1901, which also happens to own several other stave churches that survive. The church was taken out of use in 1893, but services still take place during the summer season. As of June 2016, photographing of the highly decorated interior (even with flash) was allowed. In the late nineties the local internet site Numedalsnett was allowed to shoot a short interior video with minimum equipment and lightning. The video clip is available on YouTube.
Opening hours and prices
The church is open for visit between June 1st and August 31st. In this period, the church is open between 10.00 and 18.00. .
- Adults: 90,- NOK stave church+open-air museum
- Children: Free (1-16 years)
- Groups (min 10 pers) stave church+open-air museum: 80,- NOK pp
- Groups (min 10 pers) stave church: 70,- NOK pp
In the area
Uvdal Stave church is one of four (!) stave churches you ca admire along Road 40. The road is a fantastic ride through Numedalen and I would easily recommend the road even if the churches was not there! It is less traffic than on Road 7 going the same direction, so why not try something new next time. The other churches on this stretch, is Rollag, Flesberg, and Nore stave churches.RØDBERG WEATHER