A stave church is a medieval wooden Christian church once common in north-western Europe and extremely popular in Norway. The stave churches are Norway’s unique contribution to the worlds cultural heritage. Most were built between 1130 -1350 when the Black death brought all the new buildings to an end. Similar churches have existed throughout Europe but only the Norwegian ones have survived. Of the 1000 Stave churches that have been built only 28 still exist. The only surviving Stave churches outside of Norway exist in Sweden, Germany and Poland. There have been replicas built in Denmark and the USA.
The name derives from the buildings structure of post and lintel construction. Post and lintel being a building system where strong horizontal elements are held up by strong vertical elements with large spaces between them. This is usually used to hold up a roof, creating a largely open space beneath, for whatever the building was designed for. This type of timber framing used load-bearing posts to help support the upper parts of the building and transfer the loads throughout. Timber posts were used as supports in their early design and then they were set on stone foundations. Similar in design to the post church and equally as magnificent, its amazing too see how these iconic pieces of the architectural past have been maintained until today.