The oldest building in Stjørdal is also the most stately one. In the whole of Norway there is hardly another building of the same age that still is in use. When the foundation stone was laid, the Norwegian Viking Era was still in full bloom. More than 400 years were to pass before Martin Luther started his Reformation. The French Revolution was almost 700 years into the future.
The Church of Værnes bears witness to old greatness in the Stjørdal valley. The mighty chalk-white walls testify to an affluent society and to people with power and go-ahead spirit. In a cultural and historical perspective the church is a treasure. It was nearly started at the same time as the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, which is the greatest Christian building in Norway.
The Church of Værnes is a time machine. Under the high roofs the centuries have written their autographs. Pictures of gods and devil´s masks fight ruthlessly about the hegemony in the human soul. The dramaturgy of the Middle Age comes alive in the life- or death battle that unfolds before our eyes on the church walls.
If you lift your eyes even further, towards the roof-truss, you can see the last millennium face to face. Nowhere else in the country you will have such an opportunity to admire the art of carpentry as it was displayed nearly 900 years ago. This is one of the reasons why the Church of Værnes is a familiar name in antiquarian circles on the whole continent.
The wooden ceiling is the original from the 12th century, and the only one still in existence. It has a span of more than 11 meters and has been the inspiration for reconstructions of roofs in other medieval buildings in Norway (the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim and Håkonshallen in Bergen).
The Church of Værnes is a cultural treasure, perhaps because the majestic church building gives us a close contact with the mysticism and sentiment of the past. Many people come here to contemplate about the mysteries of life – great and small. The thoughts wander among the beams under the roof, casting curious glances at the “Værnes Chair”, made in 1685 as the private pew for the squire of Værnes (General Schultz and his wife). This chair shows us a mastery in wood carving that amazes everyone with its perfectionism and richness in details.
Fine wall paintings, stone figures and runic inscriptions are also found in the church.
The church is situated 2 km southeast of Stjørdal, close to Stjørdal museum Værnes.
Guided tours & prices 2016:
June 26th to August 14th. Tuesday - Saturday 11 – 16. Sunday 12 – 16. Monday closed. Children under 15 year NOK 50,- and adults NOK 100,-.
Guided tour that also include the museum: Children under 15 years NOK 75,- and adults NOK 150,-.
Both tours start in the museum.
Guided tours are available for groups on request all year round. Please contact Stjørdal museum Værnes.