This church is reasonably recommended but not exactly among the top sights even in a city like Bergen. It requires comparatively non-trivial time and effort to get to. It is actually not the original church, which was destroyed by arson just 20 years ago, but a replica rebuilt in a different location. And yet, I specifically targeted a visit there on our sole day spent entirely in Bergen.
This was primarily a surrogate World Heritage site visit. Of the few dozen such churches surviving from Medieval times only one, Urnes Stave Church, is recognized on the UNESCO list. Its location is in general vicinity of the fjords that we were visiting on this trip but far enough to require time allocation that we could not spare from our itinerary. Since the style of architecture known as stave church nowadays survives almost exclusively in Norway – although replicas and imitations exist elsewhere in Northern Europe and also in the United States – as a self-professed aficionado of architecture I had to make an effort to see one while in Norway. Original Fantoft church dated from mid-12th-century and it was the only one of the stave churches that we could get to on our own using public transport, so it basically picked itself.
Here is a shot that attempted to take in the entire church.
As is frequently my lament, my “tourist” vision overpowered my “photographic” one. While I spent sufficient time looking the church over and absorbing its unusual build and atmosphere, I did not look hard enough for best angles and best lighting to take pictures. The results leave a lot to be desired.
Nonetheless, here are several close-up angles.
A fragment of the church interior.
Wooden carvings are nearly the only ornamentation that exists inside the church, otherwise it is beautifully minimalist in decoration. Here is a fragment of a bench carving.
Half an hour is likely the very upper limit of the length of visit to the Fantoft Stave Church. But you need to budget no less than an hour and a half overall to get there and back; the light rail from Byparken in the center of Bergen takes under 20 minutes to Fantoft station, from where a slight uphill walk leads you to the church in another 10 minutes.
Pictures of Fantoft Stave Church have been added to my Western Norway Flickr album.