Heddal stave church, Notodden

#2 of 50 in Things to do in Telemark
Heddal stave church is a stave church located at Heddal in Notodden municipality, Norway.The church is a triple nave stave church and is Norway's largest stave church. It was constructed at the beginning of the 13th century. After the reformation, the church was in a very poor condition, and a restoration took place during 1849–1851. However, because the restorers lacked the necessary knowledge and skills, yet another restoration was necessary in the 1950s. The interior is marked by the period after the Lutheran Reformation in 1536–1537 and is for a great part a result of the restoration that took place in the 1950s.LegendThere is a legend telling about the erection of the church and how it was built in three days.Five farmers (Raud Rygi, Stebbe Straand, Kjeik Sem, Grut Grene and Vrang Stivi) from Heddal had made plans for a church, and they decided to have it built. This is how it happened:One day, Raud Rygi (one of the five men) met a stranger who was willing to build the church. However, the stranger, set three conditions for doing the job, one of which must be fulfilled before the church was finished:Raud had three options: fetch the sun and the moon from the sky, forfeit his life-blood, or guess the name of the stranger. Raud thought the last would not prove too difficult, so he agreed to the termsBut time began to run out. All of the building materials had arrived during the first night, and remarkably, the spire was built during the second. It became clear to Raud that the church would be finished on the third day.Down at heart and fearing for his life, Raud took a walk around in the fields trying to figure out what the stranger's name could be. Still wandering about he had unconsciously arrived at Svintruberget (a rocky hill southeast of the church site) when he suddenly heard a strange but most beautiful and clearly audible female song:
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
148 reviews
  • August 17, 2017
    This church is about two hours from Oslo, is entirely made of wood and has a very special architecture, from the outside it looks very big in fact the Interior is very small, and this has a little disappointed, we were struck by the strong smell of wood, very personable. Tickets cost eight euros per person, 5 for students and free for children under 12. C ' on the ticket includes a visit to two museums, one is located under the ticket office, composed of some prints and illustrations very nice I guess, tell the history of the Vikings, as being the only explanations written in Norwegians are incomprehensible to me, and the other a few hundred meters away and that we have visited.
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  • August 17, 2017
    The largest of all the stave churches in Norway and is easy to spot from long distance. It is sick great and totally amazing recently. I would like to get married here
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  • August 16, 2017
    Couldn't believe the construction of such a magnificent Church. It was truly amazing to see and learn of it's history. The presentation by the young local resident was excellent as well. The cemetery ...  more »
  • June 28, 2017
    A nice preserved ancient masterpiece and a kind interpreter willing to explain to visitors whatever he knows the knowledge about it.
  • July 1, 2017
    Not much to see if you pay the entrance fee to get inside.
  • May 10, 2017
    Fantastic church, knowledgeable guide, friendly employees in the café!
  • September 28, 2016
    A must-see in Norway! Beautiful church on a gorgeous place about 1.5 hours from Oslo. Free.
  • August 10, 2016
    One of the jewel of Norway. For me only comparable with Borgund Stavkirke. I have seen it 5 or 6 times, and always with some emotion even if I am no religious person.

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