Kinsarvik (150 km from Bergen)

The church of Kinsarvik viewed from the southwest (photo Justin Kroesen)

 

Portal in the north wall of the nave (photo Justin Kroesen)
Portal in the north wall of the nave (photo Justin Kroesen)

The church of Kinsarvik is the oldest stone church in the Hardanger region. The rectangular nave was built towards the end of the twelfth century in the Romanesque style, characterized by massive walls with very small window openings. The chancel was added in the early thirteenth century.

The nave has portals on the north, west and south side, and the chancel has a priest’s portal in the south wall. All portals are framed by moulded round arches. Both the outside and inside of the building are entirely plastered.

Transversal wall between the chancel and nave (photo Justin Kroesen)
Transversal wall between the chancel and nave (photo Justin Kroesen)

The chancel and nave are separated by a massive transversal wall which has preserved its narrow round-arched opening. To the left and right are round-arched niches that must originally have formed the background to two side altars.

Baptismal font, c. 1250 (photo Justin Kroesen)
Baptismal font, c. 1250 (photo Justin Kroesen)

The baptismal font is made of soapstone and dates from the middle of the thirteenth century. A painted altar frontal from the end of the thirteenth century can now be admired in the University Museum of Bergen (a copy is found in the church).

Wall painting of St Michael weighing the souls, 1200s (photo Justin Kroesen)
Wall painting of St Michael weighing the souls, 1200s (photo Justin Kroesen)

Around 1900 medieval paintings were discovered on the nave walls. The south wall shows a standing bishop and the opposite side the weighing of the souls by the archangel St Michael. These paintings may be dated to the thirteenth century.

 

The altar and pulpit date from the post-Reformation period; both are fine art works in the Renaissance style. The pulpit, showing Christ and several allegorical virtues, dates from 1609 and may originally have been situated in the centre of a gallery in front of the chancel arch wall. The large altarpiece in the chancel was created around 1690 (paintings on the side added later).

 

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