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Thread: The Faroese Church of St Olav in Kirkjub°ur

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    The Faroese Church of St Olav in Kirkjub°ur

    The Faroese Church




    The oldest preserved church in the Faroe Islands is the small parish church of St Olav in Kirkjub°ur, built as a part of the Catholic episcopate possibly as early as the 12th century. Yet the grand and majestic ruin of the Magnus Cathedral, started sometime around the beginning of the 14th century, is the foremost historical monument in the Faroe Islands.

    It is not these ancient remnants from the Middle Ages, however, that spring to mind when one thinks of Faroese churches. Rather, it is a vision of the black, wooden church with a grass roof that comes to mind. There are many examples of this type of church, all built during a brief 20 year period from around 1830 to 1850. The oldest of these churches is found in HvalvÝk on Streymoy and the latest were built in Funningur on Eysturoy and in Porkeri on Su­uroy.
    The earliest wooden churches resembled snails snuggled in their shells. In this treeless land, wood was very costly and rare and was used sparingly. Surrounding these very early wooden churches was a protective wall constructed of stones and packed earth. Better times brought changes in church construction and during the course of the 1700s it was common for churches to be built of imported wood and windows were incorporated into the design.

    The churches were modest in size, no bigger than other buildings in the village, but the detail work was exquisite. Eventually, a new feature was incorporated into the design: a small, white bell tower, placed either parallel or diagonal to the roof beam.
    The inside of these churches is a veritable treasure chest of detailed, unpainted woodwork. The design is humble, yet elegant in its simplicity. The supporting timbers and joists are exposed. Each detail in the design reveals a distinctive profile or bears a special carving. One can almost hear the heavenly music intoned by this beautiful carving.

    Many of the newer churches have been inspired by designs found outside the Faroes. Many are quite beautiful and worthy of a visit, especially Christianskirkjan in KlaksvÝk, FrÝ­rikskirkjan in Toftir, and the new church in the village of G°ta. They are large and spacious, as the population is now much larger and times have changed, of course. If you desire, however, to gain an appreciation and understanding of the deep spiritual devotion and modesty of the Faroese, you must, without a doubt, visit the old wooden village churches.

    http://www.faroeislands.com/Default.asp?sida=657


    Die Sonne scheint noch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dagna View Post
    Yet the grand and majestic ruin of the Magnus Cathedral, started sometime around the beginning of the 14th century, is the foremost historical monument in the Faroe Islands.
    You got me curious, Dagna! So I found these;



    http://www.perridge.net/ed/faroes.htm

    Quote Originally Posted by site
    The Magnus Cathedral in Kirkjub°ur. The black panels are temporary scaffolding, part of a restoration project. Quite exactly what they're going to restore remains a matter of debate however, it's quite likely the cathedral was never completed and never had a roof.

    It's a pretty impressive structure, the walls are 1.5m wide and 9m tall (so my guidebook says, I didn't measure them). Kirkjub°ur used to be the most important settlement in the Faroes, originally settled because of the large amount of driftwood that washes up on the shore here (in a treeless country this was invaluable), and the large amount of seaweed here which was used as fertiliser. The first bishop of the Faroe Islands (Gudmundur, who arrived around 1100) settled here, the cathedral was constructed around 1300.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dagna's link
    It is not these ancient remnants from the Middle Ages, however, that spring to mind when one thinks of Faroese churches. Rather, it is a vision of the black, wooden church with a grass roof that comes to mind. There are many examples of this type of church, all built during a brief 20 year period from around 1830 to 1850. The oldest of these churches is found in HvalvÝk on Streymoy

    From a whole gallery of them here, very nice:
    http://www.pbase.com/flydra/kirkjur__churches&page=6
    Many of the newer churches have been inspired by designs found outside the Faroes. Many are quite beautiful and worthy of a visit, especially ...and the new church in the village of G°ta.

    Yuck.

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