The ‘Rose Church’ with its beautiful and lavish decor

This octagonal white church was built in 1789, and its interior is particularly lavish. The walls, columns, ceiling, gallery and pulpit are covered in acanthus vines and bunches of grapes, circles and roses in sunshine yellow and sky blue. Biblical motifs are painted between the roses and vines. The nickname ‘the Rose Church’ comes from the traditional Norwegian rose painting in the Hallingdal style.
62,3818179 6,9920547
Stordalsveien 628, Stordal, 6250

Stordal, Møre og Romsdal

Owned by the National Trust of Norway since 1908.

Built by farmers, decorated by itinerant artists. The Rose Church replaced an old dilapidated stave church from the 14th century. The farmers built the church themselves, and they reused as much of the material from the stave church as possible. The porch ceiling and the pews have been painted in the old traditional style. The columns, baptismal font and parts of the pulpit probably also stem from the old stave church. The Rose Church was decorated in 1799 by two itinerant rural artists: Vebjørn Hamarsbøen ‘Halling’ and Anders Reinholdt. The wealth of images and colours in their work are still a delight today. It is an old-fashioned style, with Baroque and Renaissance influences in the motifs and partly in the colours, which is typical of rural artists.

Rich in images and Norwegian rose painting. The murals have white and black drapery at the bottom, a large rose-painted band in the middle and Biblical figures at the top. On the northern side, we find Jesus between the five wise and the five foolish virgins, Samson and the lion, and David and Goliath. The four evangelists are seated above the chancel arch, and on the south wall a smiling Jesus stands with the twelve apostles. Above the aisle, there is a greyish blue starry sky with both sun and moon, and above the pews colourful roses twist and turn, while a watchful face sends a stern look down on the women's side. A beautiful votive ship from the early 17th century hangs from the ceiling in the middle of the church, and there is a beautiful medieval crucifix on the wall by the baptismal font. The altarpiece depicts a crucifixion group of carved and painted figures, showing Jesus between Mary and John.

More information about Stordal old church:

Things to do in the area: The Rose Church is located at the open-air museum in Stordal together with Prestestova, dating from approx. 1850, which the National Trust of Norway took over in 1983. The tourist route between Ålesund, Geiranger and Trollstigen passes the open-air museum, and there are a number of great nature activities and outdoor pursuits on offer in the area.

Sources: En reise gjennom norsk byggekunst, ed. Terje Forseth. National Trust of Norway 1994/ ‘Stordal gamle kirke på Sunnmøre’. By Birgitta Rønnestad, National Trust of Norway yearbook 1969.