Cultural Heritage 2 - 3 h
Smykkesteinen in English translates to gemstone. The ‘Stifstøtta’ is an important monument made out of gemstone that lies along Kongevegen to mark the border between Bergen and Akershus. Stifstøtta was designed in neoclassical style and was very fashionable for the time.
Directions from Kyrkjestølen:
Park at parking lot on the opposite side of the road from Kyrkjestølen and St. Thomas church. From the parking lot, walk 100 meters to the east towards Nystuen. Turn and head over the original road from 1793. After 2.5 km you will arrive at Stifstøtta, the monument. From Stifstøtta it’s not long before you have reached the highest point along the road at 1200 meters.
The marble was from Lier, Norway. Much of it was sent to Copenhagen in the early 1700s and was supposed to be used as material to build a marble church. But, the marble blocks ended up being sent back from Copenhagen by boat to Bergen and onwards to Lærdalsøyri. As they thought the large marble stones would be too heavy to transport, they cut the blocks in two to be transported by land to Filefjell. The farmer Håkon Øvre Ljøsne from Lærdal took on the job of carrying the stones through the mountains in 1797. Although he built a special carriage for the job, his horses became injured from the heavy load.
The transport of the material cost just as much as the marble itself and when it was time to pay, the government in Copenhagen was completely shocked by the mere price. The cost of the whole endeavor was the same as the budget for three years of maintenance of Kongevegen.
Stiftstøtta was moved to the new and improved highway in Smeddalen but was eventually moved back in 1973 to its original location. Unfortunately two of the five stones disappeared in transport.