Why you have to visit Bergen’s Fantoft stave church

Fantoft stave churchPhoto: Norway Today / Robin-Ivan Capar
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The original stave church at Fantoft, built in 1150 in Fortun in Sogn and relocated to Fantoft in 1883, was destroyed in a fire in 1992.

In the 1992-1993 period, a number of stave churches were targeted by arsonist attacks. The attacks were allegedly connected to Norway’s 90s black metal music scene, with Burzum founder Kristian Vikernes (now Louis Cachet, after legally changing his name) being found guilty of several of these fires.

The Fantoft stave church was a victim of such an attack on June 6, 1992.

However, the Fantoft stave church was rebuilt by 1997 to reflect the original church.

Today, it can be seen in Fana, a former municipality in the south of Bergen, Norway.

fantoft stave church
The Fantoft stave church is surrounded by greenery. There is shade aplenty in springtime. Source: Norway Today / Robin-Ivan Capar

Fantoft stave church – the history

The majority of stave churches in Norway were built during the 12th century, during the intersection of Viking and Christianity religious influences. While hundreds of stave churches once proudly stood throughout Norway, only about two dozens survived to this day.

The Fantoft stave church was first built in the Fortun village in Sogn, located near the Sognefjord area, around 1150.

In the 1800 hundreds, the church faced destruction alongside a number of similar buildings in the country. However, consul Fredrik Georg Gade, a businessman and politician for the Liberal Party, bought the church in 1883 and protected it by transferring it – piece by piece – to its current location in Fantoft in today’s Bergen.  

A stone cross from Tjora in Sola stands in front of the stave church to this day. The Tjora stone crosses date around the same time as the original stave churches, around 1150. Before the churches themselves were constructed, the Tjora crosses served as the first religious meet-up places.

Tjora stone cross
A Tjora stone cross can be found in front of the Fantoft stave church. Source: Norway Today / Robin-Ivan Capar

Getting to Fantoft stave church

Looking for a fun and non-time-consuming activity in Bergen? Look no further!

The Fantoft stave church is easily accessible from Bergen’s city center and can be planned as an ideal one-hour-trip for families or groups.

If you take Bergen’s Light Rail at the city’s bus station and exit at Paradis or Fantoft stations, the trip will likely take only 15 minutes on foot.

If you exit at Paradis station, you will easily find the short (and steep) road leading to the stave church. The are several markings along the way. The same is true is you decide to exit at Fantoft – pass the Meny grocery store and head uphill. You will see the stave church pointers in no time.

Alternatively, you can reach locations in close proximity of the church by both bus and car, just look for parking spaces near Birkelundsbakken hill.

The forest surrounding the church generously provides visitors with shade, so you can quickly retreat to the woods if you decide to visit on a sunny day. 

fantoft stave church prices
Entry prices vary. Source: Norway Today / Robin-Ivan Capar

Tourist prices and working hours

The church will be open to the public from June 1, 2020, due to the current coronavirus limitations.

Its working hours will be from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM from Monday to Saturday.

Usually, as was the case in 2019, the church is open from May 15 to September 15, from Monday to Sunday, from 10:30 AM to 6:00 PM.

The stave church is closed for visitors on May 17, Norway’s national day. 

Adults pay an entry fee of NOK 65, students can get in for NOK 50, and the fee for children is NOK 30.

Payment by credit card is preferred.

For those opting for a Bergen Card, the admission is free.

You can find out more about the Bergen Card here.

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