the roof of Hopperstad Stave Church
The first two things you will notice about stave churches are that they are not very big, and secondly that they smell of tar. The tar smell is distinctive, almost all encompassing. And it changes with the seasons.
In winter the smell will be soft and blended with the clear scent of cold. In summer it will be heavy and heady. Sometime you visit a church that has been newly tarred, and then you can almost smell the building before you see it. The boards and the pillars will have a glistening, dark coat and they will be sticky to touch.
I guess the reason I mention tar is that, in a way, its smell is a constant reminder that these are buildings constructed from what was living matter. These buildings are made of wood.
( lots of churches )