Originally built in the mid 12th century near the eastern end of the enormous Sognefjord is the Fantoft Stave Church. In 1883 AD hundreds of churches across the country were threatened with demolition, prompting a Norwegian businessman to purchase the structure and move it piece by piece to the city of Bergen. Destroyed by arson in 1992, what stands today is a reconstruction completed in 1997.
10. Fantoft Stavkyrkje
Thought to have been built in 1326 AD, south west from the town of Lillehammer is the centrepiece of the village of Reinli, the Reinli Stave Church. With radiocarbon dating suggesting logs in the church date from the end of the 12th century, this beautiful church may have been built using older materials or may be much older than we think. Either way, at over 700 years old, the Reinli Stave Church has been declared a Norwegian Cultural Heritage Site.
9. Reinli Stavkyrkje
Located in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, is the 13th century Gol Stave Church, saved from part demolition at the end of the 19th century. Displayed in the Norwegian Museum Of Cultural History, the worlds first open air museum, the Gol Stave Church is one of over 150 buildings relocated from towns and districts all over Norway. With much of the original structure remaining intact, the original murals and medieval artifacts put aside for preservation, the rest of the partly demolished remains were brought to Oslo in order to re-erect it to its original glory. The Gol Stave Church has been declared a Norwegian Cultural Heritage Site.
8. Gol Stavkyrkje
Dating to the second half of the 12th century, located north west from the town of Lillehammer in the traditional district of Gudbrandsdalen is the Lom Stave Church, among the oldest stave churches in Norway. Updated and renovated throughout the centuries, the structure that stands today is one of very few stave churches of which the original medieval crest with a dragon head still survives.
7. Lom Stavkyrkje
Completed around 1140 AD in the village of Kaupanger is the large Kaupanger Stave Church, a building that has been used continuously as a parish church for over 870 years. On the northern shore of the Sognefjorden, known as the King Of Fjords, the church has the largest number of staves to be found in any one stave church, and is the largest of the five stave churches in Sogn og Fjordane county. Kaupanger Stave Church has been declared a Norwegian Cultural Heritage Site.
6. Kaupanger Stavkyrkje
Built in the mid to late 13th century, in the south of the country between Oslo and Stavanger is the Eidsborg Stave Church, originally dedicated to the travellers patron, St. Nicholas of Bari. Regarded to be one of the best preserved of all Norwegian stave churches, Eidsborg has been declared a Norwegian Cultural Heritage Site.
5. Eidsborg Stavkyrkje
Originally built in the mid 12th century, west along the Sognefjord from Kaupanger Stave Church in Vik Municipality is the Hopperstad Stave Church, a dark Romanesque Gothic structure in idyllic surroundings. Abandoned and stripped of its exterior by the mid 19th century, it was then reconstructed using Borgund Stave Church as a model. Standing in its original location, the original interior and support structure makes the Hopperstad Stave Church one of the oldest stave churches still standing.
4. Hopperstad Stavkyrkje
Built around 1130 AD, in Ornes, slightly north east from the Kaupanger Stave Church along the Lustrafjorden, an arm of the enormous Sognefjorden is the Urnes Stave Church, believed to be the oldest of its kind. Still in its original location, it provides the link between Christian architecture and the architecture and art forms of the Viking Age. One of the most beautifully located stave churches in the country, such is the importance of the Urnes Stave Church, it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
3. Urnes Stavkyrkje
Completed in the 12th century, east from the the well known village of Flåm is the Borgund Stave Church, one of the most famous stave churches in the country. Designed on a basilica plan, this triple nave stave church now operates primarily as a museum. With its proximity to Flåm and the well known Sognefjord, located on a road that most tourists pass aong as they make their way up or down the country, Borgund Stave Church is the most visited stave church in Norway.
2. Borgund Stavkyrkje
Built at the beginning of the 13th century, to the south west of the capital, Oslo, is the Heddal Stave Church, which according to legend was built from scratch over a period of three days. In very poor condition by the early part of the 19th century, it was restored in the mid 19th century. The extremely poor quality of the restoration meant it was once again restored in the mid 20th century, leaving the church in the the great condition we see to this day. Having stood for over 800 years, this beautiful piece of architectural history is the most famous church of its kind in Norway. As the largest as well as one of the oldest stave churches in the country, it has been declared a Norwegian Cultural Heritage Site.