Urnes Stave Church
Located in the village of Ornes, the Urnes Stave Church is a historic landmark in Norway that attracts thousands of tourists every year. The church was originally constructed in the 12th century and sits on the eastern side of a large fjord, presenting visitors with a glimpse of the natural beauty for which Norway is known. The Urnes Stave Church was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979 in recognition of its historical significance.
A legend says that in the times when Christianity was introduced in Norway two giants lived on either side of Lusterfjord. The giants built their own church at their respective sides and the giant in Solvorn saw that the church in Urnes was finer than his own and was so angry that he threw a stone after it. The stone did not hit , and the giant in Urnes sent a stone back that fell above Solvorn church. Both stones still exist as monoliths according to the legend.
Those who plan to make a visit to the Urnes Stave Church might do well to stay in the area around Ornes, which is a small village located on a picturesque fjord. There are several different hotels and inns around the village, including the highly-rated Walaker Hotell and the Torvis. Not only do these hotels have a number of different comfortable accommodations available to guests, but they also have information about the area around Ornes, including the Urnes Stave Church itself.
Not far from the village of Ornes lies the Sognefjorden, which is the best-known and largest fjord in the country. It is also the third largest fjord in the entire world, reaching a maximum depth of 4,291 feet below sea level. Although the fjord is much larger than the area surrounding the Urnes Stave Church, those who are visiting the church have a terrific view of this fjord and the surrounding countryside, providing many different photo opportunities and chances for travel across the unspoiled wilderness of this region.
One of the closest villages to Ornes, Hafslo is a simple cozy village with a lot of opportunity for outdoor activities, including bicycle riding and fishing. The village is located a day trip away from the Urnes Stave Church and offers a number of terrific places to stay. Among the most popular of these locations is the Hafslo Gjestehus, which is a personal flat that includes a private kitchen and a terrific view of the village. For those who want a more rugged activity, several challenging hiking trails are also nearby and capable of making most people work up a sweat.
Located in the same county as the Urnes Stave Church, the Nigardsbreen Glacier is one of the most popular hikes in the area. There are several different trails for people with varying levels of skill and the opportunity to take in all the land surrounding the Urnes Stave Church in one glance if you reach the top. Other travelers who have been over this route do suggest making sure that you wear a good pair of hiking shoes, though – the precipitation in the area can make the rocks a little slippery during certain times of the year.
The Urnes Stave Church is the oldest preserved wooden church in the entire world and is a place that everybody who is interested in Scandinavia’s history or the structures of the medieval world would do well to visit. It is also a great first stop on a day full of adventure in the area around Ornes, which offers great activities for people of all ages.