The Borgund Stave Church is an ancient stave church located ad Borgund, Laerdal in Norway. A stave church is a medieval wooden church common in early Northern Europe during ancient times. The Borgund Stave Church is just one of the 28 extant stave churches that still exist in Norway today and one of the best preserved.
Borgund Stave Church History
The Borgund Stave Church was believed to have been built somewhere between 1180 and 1250. Studies on the trees used to build the church estimated it to have been felled during the winter of 1180-81. This church was able to stand the test of time because the wooden sections were built upon a stone foundation, setting it apart from the damp earth and preventing the timber from rotting. An estimated 2,000 timbers and planks were used to build this ancient stave church. This church was dedicated to St. Andrew, as evidenced by the frequent use of the distinctive St. Andrew’s crosses both in its architecture as well as ornamental design.
Borgund Stave Church Features
This 12th Century church is classified as a triple nave stave church. The church walls are formed by vertical wooden boards or staves. Four corner posts are connected to one another by ground sill that rests on a stone foundation.
As a triple nave design stave church, it consists of having a nave, chancel and apse although the latter two are not original. It follows the form of a basilica church plan where both the nave and the chancel have an elevated central section. The Borgund Stave Church is also made up of tiered overhanging roofs topped with a tower. The gables of the roofs feature four carved dragon heads starting from the carved roof ridge crests. These were said to have been influenced by the dragon heads usually found on the prows of Norwegian ships.