The Hedalen Stave Church may be the oldest of its kind in Valdres today. It comprises an unusual amount of catholic items and among these a reliquary. Only a few of these can still be found in Norway.
The church dates back to around 1163, and coins from King Sverre`s era 1177-1202 have been found under the floor. It is in use as a regular parish church.
The west-facing portal features dragon and vine decorations from the late 1100s. These dragons symbolise the evil forces you leave behind before you enter the place of worship.
The reliquary is the most treasured item in the church. It is made out of copper-gilded wood, and dates back to around 1250. The figures featured are Christ, St. Mary, St John, St. Jacob, St. Thomas, St. Olav and St. Peter. Norway has only a few such reliquaries left. Its original reliquary casket is still intact, and is the only one of its kind.
The Hedal Madonna (sculpture of St. Mary), dating back to the mid-1200s, is one of the most stunning pieces of medieval ecclesiastical art in Norway.
Originaly, the sacrament house was part of the triptych. Changes to this gothic triptych were probably made in 1699, and it was painted in 1769. Its crucifix dates back to around 1260-1280. The Romansque font is made out of soapstone, and has a cover dating back to 1250.
In the sacristy, a bearskin is hanging on the wall. According to legend, there was no one left in Hedalen after the Black Death.
A hunter found the church in the woods and shot a bear in front of the altar. But there were still people living in Hedalen, and maybe the bearskin was just the vicar`s somewhat unusual rug in front of the altar.
Opening hours 2016: Daily except Mondays 19. June - 14. August 12noon-5pm
Admission (incl. guiding):
Adults NOK 60,-
Children and students NOK 40,-
Family NOK 150,-
Groups from 10 paying persons NOK 40,- per pers.