Church sights in Central Norway
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The southernmost small community of Gudbrandsdalen, the narrow river valley that stretches for 200km between lake Mjøsa and Dombås, Ringebu is worth a detour for its lovely stave church, 2km south of town and just off the E6. A church has existed on this site since the arrival of Christianity in the 11th century. The current version, which remains the local parish church, dates from around 1220, but was restored in the 17th century when the distinctive red tower was attached. Inside, there’s a statue of St Laurence dating from around 1250 as well as some crude runic inscriptions. Entrance to the grounds is free and the gate is open year-round.
This delightful 12th-century Norman-style stave church, in the centre of town on a rise by the water, is one of Norway’s finest. Still the functioning local church, it was constructed in 1170, extended in 1634 and given its current cruciform shape with the addition of two naves in 1663. Guided tours explain the interior paintings and Jakop Sæterdalen’s chancel arch and pulpit (from 1793). At night, the church is lit to fairy-tale effect. Entry to the grounds is free.