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St Olav's church at Avaldsnes, Karmoy

St Olav's church was built about 1250 AD by King Haakon Haakonson, with the steeple part being rebuilt much more recently.
Avaldsnes was the home of Norwegian kings for 500 years, starting with Harald Haarfagre (Fair Hair) in 872.
Beside the north wall of the church is a standing stone called "Virgin Mary's needle".

the church seen from the north side
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a door on the south side Completed in the early fourteenth century as a royal chapel, the church needed a lot of renovation in the last 200 years.
Virgin Mary's needle (Jomfru Marias Synaal) is a stone standing 7.2 metres tall - the tallest in Norway - the only one of five surviving from this originally pagan site.
Legend says that the stone will touch the church wall on Judgement Day  - and it is only a few centimetres away. A previous church minister apparently hacked off part of the stone some hundreds of years ago to delay the day!
This site is known as the Royal Farm (Kongsgarden), which includes the new Nordvegen History centre and re-built Viking settlement on Bukkoy.
There are also many other attractions on Karmoy.
Map reference:
Rogaland Fylkeskart (scale 1:200 000): 3891 65855
By car:
Drive north from Stavanger and then to Haugesund on the E 39 or ferry to Skudeneshavn. The church is just off the RV 47 2 km south of the bridge from the island of Karmoy over to Haugesund.
Beside the church
By bus
Distance from Stavanger: 70 km
Distance from Haugesund: 10 km

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Virgin Mary's needle - almost touching the church wall
the steeple part was rebuilt during the last 200 years Travel time from Stavanger:
2 hours or more by car
Duration of the visit:
up to half an hour
Kids verdict:
not very interesting
See also:
Nordvegen history centre, Avaldsnes
Viking settlement, Avaldsnes
Visnes mining museum
Karmoy fishery museum, Vedavaagen
Rogaland fishery museum, Akrehamn
Maelandsgarden museum, Skudeneshavn
Gamle Skudeneshavn
Hotel booking in the Haugesund area 
the north wall and the standing stone
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