A couple of weeks ago, I saw this video shared on a Facebook group:
The video is 11 minutes long and completely in Norwegian, but it’s wonderfully vintage footage of a few old dudes collecting and processing whetstones from a centuries-old quarry in Eidsborg, Norway.
What made the video all the more fascinating for me is that my wife and I actually visited Eidsborg (among many other stops) last summer. I don’t know how old this video is, but I recognized several buildings from a small settlement about a mile from the quarry.
First, at minute 1:08 in the video, is the famous Eidsborg stavkyrkje (stave church). The building, remarkably, dates from 1250-1270. The level of detail evident in the craftsmanship is arresting. I could have spent an entire day exploring this building.
Standing in front of the building, it’s much smaller than you might imagine from the pictures. You would have to duck to walk under the eaves. Unfortunately, the building was not open for visitors on the day we went, but there was plenty to see from the outside.
At 8:55 in the video, you’ll see another pair of remarkable buildings that I recognized immediately. The one on the right is known as the “Loft”. It was built in 1167…850 years ago. What are you building today that will still be around in the year 2865? Anybody?
This building is regarded as Europe’s oldest secular wooden structure. There are older churches made of wood. There are older homes made of stone. But if you want to see a wooden building that isn’t a church, you can’t do much better than this little beauty. A sign beside the building reads “Listed storehouse from upper Vindlaus farm, built 1167. Legend claims the three sons of rich widow Ase Stalekleiv built it to store quantities of linen. Runes by the upper level door (ca. 1300) read, ‘Vestein wrote these runes. Hail he who wrote, and hail he who reads.’ Europe’s eldest secular wooden structure.”
The second building is a newbie by comparison. The date in the carving above the doorway was a bit hard to read, but I believe it reads “ELEFOUVERSON ANNO:1757”. Of course, the building could be older than the inscription. I don’t recall seeing a sign beside this one, and if there was one, I didn’t snap a picture.
Did I mention how amazing Norway is? It’s amazing. Plenty more pictures where these came from.