Saturday, November 3, 2007

Stave Church

So you live in a town with a replica viking longship built by a guy with a vision and too much time on his hands. How does one compete with that? Well by building a life sized replica of the Hopperstad Stave Church directly behind the building that houses the longship.
Here is the original.

And here is the replica in Moorhead , Mn. The lack of being covered in a 1000 years of pine tar makes it a bit lighter in color.
The church is a a solid 4 stories and completely constructed of timber with all manner of lovely norse carvings. The door was especially magnificent constructed in the very defensible and narrow Viking Fashion. You have to turn your shield sideways to fit through.
There is an arched walkway around the entire building which kept the snow off the building proper and allowed overflow to not stand in the rain.
Being Minnesotan they covered the carvings with Plastic for protection.
The first thing that struck me when I entered was the Baldachino over the side altar which had some amazing pieces of carving and the rood screen which is floor to ceiling and spared the ax by the Lutherans after the Reformation. Apparently the building was abandoned and left alone making this the single intact rood screen in Scandinavia.
The Baldachino is dedicated to Mary.
and was completed in the 1300's so instead of dragons it has flowers.
With the occasional monk thrown in.
My favorite feature of this church was the leper door. This was relatively common in the middle ages and kept the diseased or especially foul smelling out of the church but allowed them to receive communion because the door is cut into the sanctuary wall. Like a sacramental drive thru for the socially undesirable.


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