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hedal stave church
HEDAL STAVE CHURCH

The church was built about 1225-1250, thus some like to date it to the late 1100´s. The first written records of it dates back to 1327. Even this church have undergone restorations and replacements throughout the history, of which a major rebuilding into cruciform occurred in 1699. The church was completely restored again in about 1900. Only the main construction of the nave and and some of the exterior exists from the original church.

According to the folk tradition, this valley was hit hard by the Black Plague during 1349-1351 and most people in the district either died or moved out the valley. The valley supposedly stayed uninhabited for more than 150 years, lost for mankind. A fairytale tells us about how the church was rediscovered by a hunter during the early 1500´s.

A hunter once went hunting in the valley of Hedal during the early 1500´s. He suddenly saw a bear in the heavy forest and made a bowshot after it. He went looking for the bear and found the the hidden church, not seen by man kind in many decades. The bear was found dead by the altar of the church.

The fairytale can in fact be true! In the sacristy you can still see the old bearskin, which according to the legend was the same bear who was shot and died in front of the altar when the church was rediscovered.

Hedal Stave Church is located in Sør Aurdal.


 Stave Churches of Norway Church buildings tell some of the story of this cultural convergence.