Varhaug gamle kyrkjegard in Järnen: When it is no longer needed at the seaside
We travel along the Norwegian coast, from the south to the far northeast. But already here, in Jären, we are very touched by the landscape, which was completely unexpected for us. Especially when we discover this small chapel in a cemetery by the sea in the municipality of Hå and with it the Varhaug gamle kyrkjegard.
The now listed Varhaug gamle kyrkjegard cemetery has its origins in the Middle Ages, today it is one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Norway. It is difficult for us to categorize how beautiful cemeteries can be, but this cemetery Varhaug gamle kyrkjegard touches with its simplicity and modesty.
A wall built with field stones, as we often see here in Järnen, frames the small cemetery Varhaug gamle kyrkjegard with its chapel. The simple cast iron gate fits into the stylized design of this resting place. From here we can see the small chapel, only 15 square meters in size, painted in white wood. Seen from the gate, the sky, as could be more symbolic for this region, consists of sky and sea.
The freshly mowed lawn, the simple metal crosses and tombstones, this is a place that, in its own modesty, exudes calm and deep peace. Sometimes in front of a very calm sea and a bright blue sky, sometimes in front of a roaring sea and deep gray clouds.
The first chapel on the Varhaug gamle kyrkjegard was probably built around 1200. It thus took the place of a previously pagan place of worship. This was often done in the course of Christianization. A new chapel had to be built again and again, because the climate in this coastal region is harsh. The North Sea shows its wildest side here.
In this state it was doomed to a Russian naval ship in 1841, which sank off the coast of Varhaug. The accident cost 389 lives. Nine of them were washed up and buried here in the Varhaug gamle kyrkjegard cemetery. A memorial plaque was erected to commemorate this accident.
The churches that stood in this place were of different sizes. The last church in Alsterhaug was demolished in 1905 and a new one was built in its place in Odland.
The present-day chapel Varhaug chapel dates from 1951. Inside there are 14 seats. Against the background of limited earthly life, people keep coming to this little church to get married.
During our visit, a father came to this cemetery with his two little daughters. Thinking that they wanted to visit the small chapel on their vacation trip, we notice shortly later how they lay flowers on a tombstone in an infectious and touching lightness …[wpgmza id=”42″]