Photo: Fredrik Eriksen

The church in Undredal is one of the 28 remaining stave churches in Norway and is supposedly the smallest church in Scandinavia still in use. On the roof construction above the panelled ceiling, there is a carving that might be interpreted as 1147. Analysis carried out in 1996 supports this interpretation. The first written reference to the church is made in a letter dating back to 1321, written by bishop Audfinn in Bjørgvin (Bergen) naming Pål Bårdson vicar of Undru Kapella (the Undredal chapel). In a 1348 diploma from Avignon, it is mentioned that Pope Clemens VI makes canon Odd Ogmundson curate of St. Nicolai’s Chapel in Undredal.

The original stave church measured 12, 5 x 17, 4 feet. Later, both choir and porch were added. In a document from 1665, mention is made of a covered walkway along the outer church walls. No traces of this exist today. On the interior walls you can see markings that indicate that the nave has at one time had a gallery. Undredal does not have its own cemetery and therefore uses the one by Vangen Church in Aurland. Until 1859, when a church was built at Bakka, Undredal and Nærøy was one parish.

The chandelier with the five carved animal heads might be medieval. It is not mentioned in any known written sources. The pulpit is from 1696 and an old stool is from 1647. The two brass candlesticks are from 1702 and the chalice is at least as old. A copper baptism font hang on the wall of the church. It is decorated with a lion motif. When in use, the font is hung on the side of one of the front pews. One of the bells is medieval. It now hangs inside the church and is struck 9 times when the service is at an end. The two other bells are in the bell tower. One of them was made in Bergen in 1824, the other is newer. The church in Undredal is one of the few in Norway where you have to stand inside the church itself to ring the bells. In 1962 at least three layers of paint were removed from the church walls and ceiling. This process revealed the old decorations which had been hidden for a long time. The walls are covered with nicely painted draperies and vines and the domed ceiling is covered with stars and other figures. Under the oldest paint several figures were found carved into the woodwork. Among these are a man with an axe, a non-descript animal and different kinds of symbols. They probably date back to the time when the church was built. Undredal Church does not seat more than 30 people, i.e. 2 per pew. The church is old and tiny, but it is considered a great cultural treasure and well worth a visit.

Apart from the church, the tiny village of Undredal is home to 60 people and 300 goats. This is where the white and brown Undredal goat cheese is produced. Before 1988 you could only reach the village by boat or by walking across the mountains. In 1988 and 1991 roads and tunnels were completed, connecting Undredal first to the eastern and then to the western part of the country. After this there has been a marked increase in the number of visitors. This is due both to the goatcheese and the characteristic houses and last, but not least, the tiny stave church situated in between the farms in the western part of the village.

Opening hours
Contact local church office.
Tickets
Adult: 50, Family: 100
Contact info

Monica Finden
95862520
monica.finden@aurland.kommune.no

Facts about the church

Year of construction: 1147

Municipality: Aurland

Diocese: Bjørgvin

Address: Kyrkjevegen 9, 5746 UNDREDAL

Guided tours: Yes

Food and beverages available: No

Accessibility

Parking: No

HC parking: No

Toilets: No

HC toilets: No


Map

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