Stavkirke is a hidden gem | Black Hills Travel Blog

Stavkirke is a hidden gem

Tuesday, August 21, 2018
By : 

stavkirke chapel400

Tucked away in a quiet corner of southwest Rapid City, sits one of the more interesting buildings that I've visited in the Black Hills. It does not heavily advertise, nor charge an admission fee, but it attracts thousands of visitors every year.

The Chapel in the Hills is designed as an exact reproduction of the famous Borgun Stavkirke of Laerdal, Norway and was built in 1969. It is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, but is open to all visitors and is a "must see" for many summer tourists.

The chapel is truly an amazing sight, as it is filled with intricate wood carvings based on Christian and Viking designs. These carvings were all done by hand by two master carvers - one from Norway and one who lived in Rapid City.

For the original construction of the chapel, the Norwegian Department of Antiquities provided a set of blueprints from the original church in Norway. The blueprints were followed closely and the tiny chapel in Rapid City was the breathtaking result.

In addition to the chapel, there are a few other buildings on the site. An authentic Norwegian grass-roofed "stabbur" serves as the current visitor center and gift shop. Nearby is a log cabin museum full of Norse and Scandinavian artifacts and history.

The chapel was originally used for the Lutheran Vespers radio ministry program, which has since changed names and locations. Today, the chapel and surrounding grounds are used primarily as a tourism stop, but they do host an informal evening worship service throughout the summer and are the site of numerous weddings.

Next time you're in Rapid City, be sure to take the time to visit the Chapel in the Hills and spend some time on the grounds. It is well worth the stop and I'd bet that it will make for one of your more unique memories of the area.

You May Also Be interested In