Ringebu Stave Church
In the middle ages there were over 1200 Stave Churches in Norway; today there are just 28. Everyone who sees the construction of a Stave Church will be fascinated by its beauty and sacredness, a temple in wood. Ringebu Stave Church is the only Stave Church in Gudbrandsdalen still standing on its original site. Its design places it in the Borgund group of Stave Churches and is one of the few really large Stave Churches remaining.
The church has been in constant use since the beginning of the 13th century. During an archaeological excavation in 1980-81, it was found that the church’s history was even older than first thought.
Ringebu Stave Church was built about 1220; a period of wealth and a society with a strong religious base. These are most probably the reasons for the size of the church. After the Black Death in 1349-50 there was a long period of depression on a national, religious and human level.
The first 10 years of the 17th Century were a period of accelerating development. One of the areas of development was the improvements in the churches. Ringebu Stave Church, having survived from the Middle Ages was in need of large scale improvement.
By 1660 the population had fully recovered to its previous levels, and it was at this time that Werner Olsen – legendary church & tower builder – left his mark on Gudbrandsdalen. The expansion of the church in 1630 gave us evidence that a new style of building had arrived in Norway.
In Ringebu Stave Church you can still see two crucifixes and a
statue of St. Lawrence from the Middle Ages as well as the font,
which dates from ca 1100. The entrance is beautifully decorated in a
Link to Ringebu Vicarage and the summer exhibions.
Was officially opened on 7th September 1738 and is one of Norway’s best preserved churches from the Baroque period. The church is richly decorated by Erik Wallin in 1740-45. Knut Haugland was the former guide in the church and has written the book about Sollia church. He died 87 years old, and was guiding till his last year. A youger citizen of the Sollia community has now taken over the guide service (must be ordered in advance, unless joining Venabu's guided tours on Friday afternoons in summer).
The history of how the area was first settled by four families and their treks across the mountains to the church in Ringebu prior to the building of Sollia church is a fascinating story, even to those not usually keen on church visits!!
It’s a story of the determination of one man and a local population
following tragic deaths in the mountains.
Venabygd mountain chapel
A beautiful chapel built in wood and stone and inaugurated in 1979. Won the prize for that year's church. Every New Year's Eve Venabu fjellhotell arranges a concert there at 16.00. The chapel is situated approx 500 metres from the hotel.
There are regular sermons throughout the year, specially in the big holidays. A popular church for baptisms and weddings.
The chapel also owns two cabins in connection with the chapel, housing approx 20 people. Excellent for groups who want to use the chapel for sermons. Can also be hired for groups without hiring the chapel. Ask firstname.lastname@example.org for the cabins.
The old vicarage in Ringebu
A beautiful farm next to the stave church of Ringebu. In summer there are art exhibitions there, and the main attraction is the Weidemann collection. Jacob Weidemann is one of Norway's most known painters in modern time. His paintings you can see in the nicely restored main building, as well as a stave church exhibition. In the smaller store houses next to the main building there are alternating sales exhibitions of local art and craft.
The vicarage garden is being renewed and restored, and from summer 2009 there will be the first planting of hardy roses and local perennials and plants for rock gardens. The work with the garden is mainly based on volunteer work.
Venabu has guided tours to the vicarage and the stave church Sunday afternoons in the summer season.