If you are driving on the E16 between Bergen and Oslo, Lomen Stave Church is by the highway. Located in the historic Valdres Valley, this church has stood here since the 12th century. In the summer months, it is open to the public, where you can go inside and marvel up-close at the medieval detailing. It’s not as famous or as ‘stave-y’ as some other churches, I know, but it’s located in a gorgeous place and bears many similarities to churches like Borgund. Here’s some info about Lomen Stave Church.
Lomen Stave Church is from around the year 1192. It has many similarities to nearby Høre Stave Church. They were likely built around the same time. The church is a pillar stave church, meaning the main room has four supporting stave beams. The style and decoration of the church is part of the “Valdres-Sogn” stave churches. This groups many of the churches from Valdres Valley and around the Sognefjord that have the same features. Considering the old King’s Road used to run through the valley to Sogn, they likely shared design tips.
Like all stave churches, Lomen Stave Chuch has fallen victim to modernisation and renovation. The choir is from a major renovation in the 1750s. During this time, the walls were also expanded to make the main room larger.
During the last refurbishment, archaeological excavations uncovered 71 artefacts, including jewellery and coins. The oldest coin found here is from King Sverre’s time, 1177-1202.
Today the church, neighbouring bell tower and cemetery are under protection. Many original features of the church remain, despite major renovations. The most illustrative are the portals, which have decorations of dragons, vines, and animal heads. Some of the portals have moved around the church, but they do date back to medieval times. These kinds of decorations are common on Valdres-Sogn stave churches. The roof and wall timbers are also original.
Little remains of the original church on the inside. This is because the pieces are now either in a museum in Oslo or the Folkemuseum in Fagernes. There is a medieval chest leaning towards the wall in the choir. A rune inscription on the chest is still visible. There is also a Madonna head inside; it is a plaster copy of the original from the 1200s. The original is in the Valdres Folkemuseum.
The interior is painted green from the major renovation in the 1800s. Today, the interior reflects the period between 1750-1850.
Around the Church
Lomen Stave Church is located on the western part of the valley. Close by is the old traffic road through the village. No one has been buried in the church for over 100 years; the graves here are very old.
Visiting Lomen Stave Church
Today the church is used for weddings and church services during the summer.
It is open as a museum from late-June to mid-August on weekends. Admission costs 60 NOK for adults. Up-to-date info can be found here.
There are no shops nearby. With parking, You park further down the hill and have to walk up-hill on a path to get to the church. The photos above were taken from near the parking lot, so you can see how far away the church is.
The nearest place to stay is Fagernes. Click here for my info.