Urnes Stave Church , the oldest of Norway's stave churches, is included on UNESCO's World Heritage List. It was built around 1130 AD, but the distinctive carvings on the north portal are from an even older church.
Samples taken from the base timbers show that the timber was felled between 1129 and 1131. Besides the present church, there have been two other stave churches on the same site. The last of them was built in the second half of the 11th century.
Parts of this building have been incorporated into the present church: a portal, exterior planks and a corner stave, decorated with superb carvings that have been designated the Urnes style.
The stave churches are unique and are Norway's most important contribution to world architecture. Urnes Stave Church, which is owned by the Society for the Preservation of Norwegian Ancient Monuments, was added to the World Heritage List in 1980.