The valley of stave churches

Medieval wooden religious buildings full of history and symbolism.

The name of these medieval wooden Christian church buildings comes from their post and lintel construction method; a type of timber frame where the load-bearing ore-pine posts are called stafr in Old Norse (stav in modern Norwegian).

In Valdres you can visit 6 of Norway´s 28 preserved stave churches. As some of our oldest buildings they are steeped in folklore, symbolism and made from ancient timber that is now immortalised in fine architecture.

Even quite small, organic and modest, these buildings have stood the test of time and still make a powerful impression on you as you step over their foot-worn-down thresholds. 

Most of the surviving stave churches in Norway were built between 1150–1350, soon after the Christianity came to Norway, before the Black Death. People were poor, unsure of this new religion and its strange rites. Is that why you can find Norse Gods and dragons carved into the wood? And what do the runes in hidden places tell you?

Each church has its own dramatic history and our guides will happily reveal the secrets and mysteries inside the buildings for your pleasure.

Book the experience

More to explore in the area

About Valdres Nature and Culture Park

Join us between lush, green valleys in the south and majestic mountain range in the north. Enjoy easy living and slow down in this farm region in the very heart of Norway.