|Borgund Stave Church in Norway, built in the late 1100's. When the Vikings became Christians, they built Churches like this one, over 1,000 of them.|
The Viking Era lasted from 795 A.D. - 1066 A.D., and was followed by an "Era of Stave Churches" as the Scandinavian people gradually converted to Christianity.
The majority of existing stave churches are found in Norway, but related church types were once common all over northwestern Europe.
Borgund stave church (Borgund stavkyrkje) is a stave church located in Borgund, Laerdal, Sogn, Norway. It is classified as a triple nave stave church of the so-called Sogn-type. This is the best preserved of Norway's 28 extant stave churches. It was probably built in the end of the 12th century, and has not changed structure or had a major reconstruction since that date.
Most striking and odd to modern Christian eyes are the four dragon's heads, like those used on the prows of the old Viking ships---these were placed on the highest roof-peaks to serve the same function as the gargoyles on medieval Cathedrals---to ward off evil spirits. It should be noted that many more Christian crosses than dragon's heads adorn the peaks of the church roof.
Odin – Supreme god of Viking religion. lived in a great palace in Valhalla, he was surrounded by a bodyguard of warriors who had been killed in battle. It was believed that in Valhalla they prepared for one last battle against evil that would spell Ragnarok, the Doom of the Gods. Odin was the all-powerful god of battle, wisdom, knowledge and poetry.
Thor – Although Odin was the chief god he was considered unreliable so his son, Thor, was believed to be more predictable and therefore it was Thor who was more widely worshipped by the Vikings. Thor was skilled in battle and he carried a mighty hammer, Mjollnir, which he used to destroy evil creatures. The Vikings believed that thunder was caused by Thor’s chariot and lighting appeared when Thor threw Mjollnir (his hammer). He was also believed to be a kind God who was ready to help Sailors and Farmers.