Old Wooden Houses

Europe has some pretty old wooden constructions. Barns, churches, living houses, often they survive several hundreds of years. In Switzerland there are some family houses that claim to be from 1176 and 1287 , and in Essex (England) there is a church that has some sections from the 9th and 11th century.

Stelmuzes church

Stelmuzes church

In Lithuania we have this church in Stelmužė, at the border with Latvia and close to Belorussia. The church is from 1650. It was built with only axe, chisel and hammer. No nails except to hang the wooden doors, otherwise just dowels. How cool is that!

The church was renovated in 1713. Since it is a log construction, renovation is surprisingly easy: just rip off the outside insulation and covering, and replace it with new. The original load bearing construction is all logs, and will stand for ages. No renovation necessary on that part. Recently some outside parts were renovated again, see photos.

The church has two parts actually: one building is the church itself, the other is the bell tower. The bell tower even has a wooden roof, made from larch tiles.

Stelmuzes church

Stelmuzes church

And, to top it all, there is an old oak tree next to the church.

Stelmužė oak

Stelmužė oak

How old is the tree? It is believed to be at least 1,500 years old, possibly, as much as 2,000 years old. This makes it the oldest oak in Lithuania and one of the oldest in Europe. However, exact age measurements are difficult, as the inner part of the trunk has been removed. (Wikipedia).