I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Stave churches are medieval wood churches with plank walls, once common all over northern Europe, but now almost exclusively found in Norway.

Fantoft was built around 1150 near Sognefjord, and moved to Bergen in the nineteenth century when it was threatened with demolition. It survived another hundred years or so, only to be burnt to the ground in 1992, part of a string of arson fires committed by members of Norway's Black Metal scene, claiming retaliation against Christianity for building churches on sacred pagan grounds. One of the bands used a photo of the burnt church on an album cover, and the guitarist was eventually tried and convicted for several of the church burnings. (Just in case you ever make the mistake of thinking that everything is coolly rational in Scandinavia.)

 The church has been rebuilt; the irony is that while the small interior is full of curvy warm wood shapes, and a very stoic blue-eyed Jesus, the outside doesn't appear remotely Christian. It looks more like the Viking ships that are its architectural forebears than it does a Catholic church.


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