Thursday, May 15, 2008
Countdown to Syttende Mai--Stavekirke (Stave Church)
Among the Norwegian culture is one unique form of architecture that dates back to the viking age, or rather, the end of the viking age and the advent of Christianity in Norway. Stavekirker (Stave Churches) were built in the 11th and 12th centuries. Supposedly there were close to a thousand of them scattered throughout Norway immediately following the viking age and some thirty of them have survived through today. Upon visiting Norway, one may visit this old structures that oftentimes contain both Christian and Pagan elements. If you look closely at the photographs you will see both the cross (Christian) and dragons, as well as other animal figures carved into the church (Pagan). When transforming a pagan culture into a Christian one, it was helpful to use pagan elements to attract individuals, hence pagan symbols alongside Christian symbols on the churches in order to attract those who had not fully converted.
Anyhow, it is an interesting style of architecture along with interesting artwork carved into the structures. You may wish to research more in order to see the details. In the meantime, enjoy these photographs.