Undredal Stave Church

Vestland, Norway | C.1147

Photo Credit: Andre Joseph Virani

Famed for being the smallest stave church still in use in all of Scandinavia, the Undredal Stave Church is the perfect size for the village’s 100 residents … and 500 resident goats..

With only 40 seats, the miniature house of prayer sits amongst the picturesque Norwegian fjords, tucked between the farms of Undredal. Essential to the local economy, the nearby farms produce upward of twelve tons of goat cheese every year thanks to its 500 four-legged caprine inhabitants, which fittingly have helped Undredal retain the title of “The Capital of Brunost”, (Aka: traditional brown goat cheese.)

Despite measuring only 39 by 13 feet, the medieval wooden stave church holds a great deal of history, having preserved pieces of its legacy throughout the centuries. First built in 1147, the tiny house of worship is made of Norwegian timber framing, and contains several artifacts: a medieval bell and animal-head chandelier, a pulpit dating back to the 1600s, and various objects such as brass candlesticks and a chalice from 1702.

Believe it or not, the church was originally even smaller, having been expanded more than double in length. An internal restoration also revealed ancient murals and ceiling decorations depicting draperies, vines, and various ancient celestial and biblical treasures.

Although it was only accessible by boat or extended hikes across the mountains until 1988, thankfully you can now adventure to Undredal by road as well, making it that much easier to visit this remarkably tiny church that can fit almost half of the local (human) population.

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