The beautiful vicarage on the Fjelberg Island lies a few minutes walk up from the fjord, in a compact enclosure with the church south of the main building and the bishop’s residence to the north; a rare harmonic cluster.
The stately Kvinnherad Church with its characteristic profile set out against the mighty Malmangernuten in the background, gives you a rare feeling of being present in a historic landscape as you come around Nes and face the well-kept houses at the Skåla farm. The church at Skåla is one of four “fjordungskirker” (one of four main district churches) and this farm was the centre of this coastal administration district.
Ænes has been one of the prosperous farms at the Mauranger Fjord in medieval times. At the time of Harald Gilles, around 1130, we hear of GAUT at Ænes. The noble families around the Hardanger Fjord were prominent in the political sphere from early on, and it is obvious that the fine and openly situated farm at Ænes was also a good place for a Church.
Moster is mentioned as a church site already in the time of Olav Tryggvason. According to the sagas the king is supposed to have laid the foundations for the first church at Moster when he came there in 995. That building would have been a stave church - the church standing there today – a stone church with a nave and narrower, straight chancel – was probably founded around 1100. In 1874 a new church was built at Moster. Then the old church was bought by The Society for the Preservation of Norwegian Ancient Monuments, which is still the owner.
The first church at Grindheim was a stave church with a free-standing steeple. The church was first mentioned in 1326, but was probably built long before this time.
The stone church at Støle may have been built around 1160 probably as a private chapel for the mighty Stødle clan. It is likely that it was Erling Skakke, the king’s representative and father of king Magnus Erlingsson, who built the church.
Mountain plants with their beautiful, colourful flowers are common in high altitude areas in Norway. On the coast there are not so many of them. But, here and there one nonetheless finds mountain plants, and this makes some coastal mountainsides a little bit different. Perhaps the growth on these mountainsides gives us a little glimpse of a distant past?