While in France the great cathedrals of Gothic art were beginning to be built with stone, in the Scandinavian lands, and more specifically in Norway, magnificent churches were being erected but built with wood. They are known as “stavkirke”.
Without a doubt, these beautiful temples are one of the best manifestations of the art of the Vikings, and their bill is due to the great mastery of carpentry that these people had, who enjoyed their surroundings with gigantic trees, with whose wood they knew how to build their houses and above all their famous drakkar, nautical wonders that are still admired.
As these wooden churches are also admirable, they were originally much more abundant, although only 28 copies have survived to this day. And of them, the most spectacular of all is this church in Heddal, located in the Norwegian province of Telemark.
Not the oldest of the stavkirkes in Norway, since that privilege is granted by historians to the Urnes Church raised around the year 1150. While that of Heddal dates from the first half of the 13th century. However, it must be said that archaeologists have found previous wooden remains in the area, so it is assumed that there would have been a similar temple here before, and the current one would be a reconstruction aftersome landslide.
And once the church we see was built, fortunately it no longer suffered catastrophes or fires or major damage. Although it is true that it has undergone two major restorations in the 19th and 20th centuries to consolidate the work and improve its appearance. So today it looks great, and of course it is still in use, both as a major tourist attraction and as it is open for worship and Lutheran religious ceremonies.
His poise is the most monumental of its kind. It is a temple with a single nave that reaches a choir and a semicircular apse. In addition, in its floor plan and interior there is a very well defined corridor that surrounds the entire church, and that is lower in height than both the nave and the apse.
That question of heights is clearly manifested in its external elevation. In it we see a staggered silhouette in which three towers stand out. The staggering is five heights. The lowest is that of the corridor, the second that of the apse, the third that of the nave and the last two levels only appear in the main tower that rises above the center of the nave. While the other two towers rise above the ambulatory with four levels, and above the apse with three.
Given the harsh Norwegian climate, everything has a steep slope to withstand the water and snow, and even the three towers have their spires, the highest being pyramidal and the others conical. In addition, in the 19th century, another free-standing tower was built as a bell tower.