Stave churches-Anyone here know about them?

Have you heard of a church style called stave churches? They used to be common in Scandinavia, particularly in Norway, but now less than thirty remain. The churches vary in size and how elaborate their decoration is, but the two links I give here will show some of the variety.

I wondered if anyone here has been inside of one. See, I am thinking of what to do for my annual gingerbread project, and, having done several church styles before, thought this one would be cool. I’ve done a Gothic cathedral, a Russian cathedral,(onion domes and all!), and a model of a local Methodist church, as well as castles and houses.

If you look at some of the pictures it looks as if there is a gallery around the bottom story before entering the building itself. If you’ve been around one of these buildings, is that accurate?

Anyone who could give some pointers I’d sure appreciate it!

I’ve been inside the one at the Norway pavilion of Epcot. I dont remember any gallery on the outside. The inside was quite small actually, just two rooms with artifacts by the walls. I think so anyway; it’s been a while so I could be misremembering.

I believe your cutaway there is the church at Borgund. Ok, yes, 'tis,as Wikipedia says.
I’m looking at another plan of Borgund-- there are ‘side aisles’ which end up very shallow. In the photos of the interior I see something that MIGHT be an upper gallery-gallery, but it might be nonfunctional with no floor-- a blind gallery or somesuch. . . yes, it’s just a screen with no real habitable space up there.
On another plan there seems to be an exterior gallery/ambulatory. . . ok, I see what you mean. Yes, in that cutaway and in the other plan it looks like a enclosed vestibule around the main vessel with entrances,and the roof there extends over both the ‘aisles’ and this vestibule with long eaves. I think you’re right in the case of Borgund, anyway.
Ok, so, looking at the exterior shot, the ‘uppermost story’ corresponds the the footprint of the stave posts themselves. The middle story is the clerestory level of the aisles around the nave. The ground level story is that outermost wall that runs under the eaves of the ambulatory.

I think that would make an asskicking gingerbread house.

Last time I looked (last year sometime) someone had some photos up of interiors on flickr-- I think Borgund and one in Oslo.

I love the look of stave churches, but the only thing I really know about them is that at least seven Norwegian stave churches have been targets for arson by heavy metal musicians who were hostile to Christianity, most notably Varg Vikernes.

What I love about stave churches is the sheer age of them. A Church may date from the 1100’s, but the main timber used could be as much as 500 years old when it was cut down. There is just something cool about touching “Norwegian wood” that old.

I have never actually seen one IRL, though.

I just want to know how you made “onions” out of gingerbread.

bathsheba, the onion domes on the Russian church I made were not themselves gingerbread, but an edilble candy clay made with meringue powder, water, and powdered sugar. You can mold it like clay. Color is kneaded in, you shape it, let it dry, and place it on it’s tower. The rules of the annual gingerbread display I make my creations for state that all material used must be edible, even whatever interior support work that can’t be seen.

One can make curved structures out of gingerbread. I once took a metal mixing bowl, turned it upside down and covered it with foil, which I greased lightly. I placed a sheet of gingerbread over it and baked it until firm. When cool I pulled gently at the foil and seperated it from the bowl, then pulled off the foil and had a dome.

At least a stave church won’t have big windows. I made “stained glass” windows for a Gothic cathedral by leaving holes in the wall panels. When almost baked I pulled them from the oven and filled the holes with crushed colored candies(Jolly Ranchers are good). When you put the panel back in the oven the candy melts and bonds to the panel.

Thanks for the replies! I really think I’m going to try this. I can take two or three churches and combine elements. Some I saw pictured were fairly simple, some really elaborate. I liked those “dragon heads” on some of the peaks of the roofs.

Wowee! Any pics??

I’ve been to the one near Rapid City, SD. What I remember most about it was that it appeared from the outside to be made of matchsticks, and that it snowed in May.

I’m from Southern California. Snow is something you can go and visit on the weekends in the middle of the winter. But snow? In May?

Ok, when you do this, please link to pictures. I have extravagant tastes in gingerbread-- I think I might try one this year-- and keep doing ridiculous nerdy things with Lego (Fontenay Abbey! Woo!)

My sister also makes gingerbread for the city holiday display. It proves you don’t have to be a professional baker to do good work, she’s a pharmacist and I think her work is better than mine. In 2005 the display was on hiatus for a year. I expressed my disappointment at that and my boss said to make it anyway and they’d put it on display at the cafe where I work. There was a silent auction and the money went to the city rescue mission. The following link is to a newspaper article about it all. I only regret that my sister was not in the picture, she’d left work to come over when the reporter was there, but couldn’t leave a second time when the photographer came later in the afternoon.

Some definitely have it. Of the ones I’ve been inside, I know that Gol, Hopperstad and Borggund have narrow galleries, with a solid wall up to at least low-chest height and arched openings above that. But several others, like Urnes and Lom churches, do not. So whether you want to put one on your gingerbread church or not depends on which church you’re basing your model on and/or how much of a pain in the neck it will be to build, I guess…

Good luck! And for goodness’ sakes, don’t forget to post the pictures when you’re done!

Thanks for the pic. Amazing!