Ulnes kirke Cultural Heritage

  • Photo: Dag Nordsveen

  • Photo: Dag Nordsveen

  • Photo: Dag Nordsveen

Essential info

  • January – December

About Ulnes kirke

Ulnes Church is a stone church from around 1265, and was mentioned in writing in 1307. The choir comprises a very old baptismal font cover. A female figure from the 13th or 14th century is displayed in a glass case in the entrance hall. This is one half of a figure illustrating the meeting between Mary and Elisabeth. The church used to have an altar front from the period 1325-1350, showing St.Margareth, St.Peter, St.Paul and St.Sunniva. The baptismal angels (fonts) date back to 1793 and 1873, and the most recent one was made by Ole Fladager from Ulnes, Norway ’s most renowned sculptor during the 1800s. Wall paintings in the choir and over the choir arch are from the 1790s. Among them are illustrations such as Jesus with three of his disciples and Zacchaeus in the mulberry tree. Ulnes Church is the only church in Norway featuring an illustration of the Zacchaeus story. The altarpiece from 1850 has its own special history. By means of a pull-string, the Three Holy Kings can revolve around Maria and the child. This is the only altarpiece in Norway with a feature of this kind. During the 1840s, two brothers from Ulnes wanted to go to America. One of them was a woodcarver and the other one was a painter. Their ship went down during a North Sea storm, and in their prayers they promised God that if they survived they would go home and donate a beautiful gift to their church. The lifeboat was washed ashore in the Netherlands, and from there they went to Germany where they spent three years as apprentices to master craftsmen while also studying altarpieces. Then they went home and created the altarpiece. Later on they left for America, and arrived safely.

Getting there by car: The church is located on a hill above the lake Strondafjorden, near where the bridge crosses the lake, about 8 km west of Fagernes. E16 passes right by.

The old pilgrim route from Hedalen Stave Church to the St.Thomas Church at Filefjell has now been reopened and way-marked. Walking the approx.162 km long route will take 7-8 days. The road leads past the stave churches in Hedalen, Reinli, Lomen, Høre and Øye, as well as the stone churches from medieval times in Ulnes, Mo and Slidre. You can join organized tours each summer, or walk by yourself.