The Heddal Stavkirke is a wooden church belonging to the XIII century of the Viking art. It is the largest among all the preserved stavkirke. It maintains the liturgical functions of a Lutheran church. It is believed that it have been built in two stages, so there are several decades of difference between the construction of the nave and the choir. There runic inscriptions in the corridor outside indicate that the church was consecrated to the Virgin Mary in 1242. Outside there is a bell tower, a wooden building of the XIX century, built to prevent that the weight of the bells cause the collapse of the central tower of the nave.
A Stavkirke is a church characterized by an internal structure of wooden columns, organized more or less like a basilica and an outer structure dominated by shingles. Stavkirke is a Norwegian word given to the Christians medieval wooden churches in Northern Europe, but are almost exclusively confined to Norway.
The plant of the simplest Stavkirke is divided into a nave and choir, while the more evolved, resemble to Romanesque basilicas. Currently exist twenty eight Stavkirke in Norway, one in Sweden and one in Poland (Norwegian origin).
It present a monumental aspect. It is a Stavkirke type B, whose plant consists of a nave, a choir with a semicircular apse, and a corridor that surrounds the church. Both the nave and the choir is divided into a central hall with high ceiling, surrounded by a apse aisle of lower elevation.
In conclusion, the Norwegian Stavkirke are amazing and very interesting buildings. Although this is not much of the original building, is the largest of all, and it is of great beauty.
It is in the municipality of Notodden, Telemark, Norway.