View of the church
Sogn og Fjordane
|Denomination||Church of Norway|
|Architectural type||Long church|
Hestad Chapel (Norwegian: Hestad kapell) is a parish church of the Church of Norway in Gaular Municipality in Sogn og Fjordane county, Norway. It is located in the village of Hestad, on a small peninsula jutting into the Hestadfjorden, a lake that is part of the river Gaula. Because of its location on a small "island"-like peninsula, the church is also known as the Øyrakyrkja ("island church"). It is one of the four churches for the Gaular parish which is part of the Sunnfjord prosti (deanery) in the Diocese of Bjørgvin. The white, wooden church was built in a long church style in 1805 by an unknown architect. The church seats about 80 people.
The chapel has a history that dates back to the Middle Ages. Legend has it that there was a church at Øyra the 12th century, but in written sources it is first mentioned in accounts from 1327. In an overview of the local church's seven properties from ca. 1350, Øyra church is mentioned as one of the five churches in Gaular. After the Black Death the church was no longer in use. Historical records show that the church was again in use by the late 16th century.
Before the road on the south side of the lake was opened in 1884, the lake was the main route of transportation through the Gaula river valley. The chapel was located in the middle of the lake, making it the perfect location. In the summer, people went boat through the strait by the chapel and in winter they sled across the lake. 
The old chapel was demolished in 1805 and a new one was built on the same site partly of material from the old chapel. The small, wooden chapel seats about 80 people. The roof and tower were destroyed by a strong storm in 1864 and were therefore built. The church bell is from the 17th century. The altarpiece is from 1805. The chapel is only used for special worship as well as for funerals and weddings. The church was purchased by the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Norwegian Monuments (Fortidsminneforeningen) in 1917. The chapel and surrounding area are protected due to historical and natural qualities. In 1940 a bridge was built over the straits and in 1970 a road was built to the north of Hestad Fjord. Norwegian county roads FV610P and FV421 pass right in front of the chapel.
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