This place looks like a castle Maleficent would've called home, but it's actually a Christian church.
Norway's Borgund Stave Church is more than 800 years old, and it's likely one of the best-preserved examples of "exstant stave" architecture — a church building style during Europe's Medieval period.
Planning for the massive community structure began in 1180 A.D., with construction taking place sometime between 1180 and 1250 A.D. Locals pitched in to help build the house of worship, sliding massive posts (or "staves") into a ground frame and pulling them upright to form the basis for the structure's walls. They carved five crosses in the altar, and five in the walls.
Following a "basilica" plan, the church has narrow side aisles. Back when it was still used for services, people would file in and stand to the north or south of the aisle. Benches were saved for the elderly and disabled.
Two angled beams cross each other just below the ceiling, supporting it by making an X shape, also known as "scissor beams." Gorgeous architectural details include roof gables set off by carved dragon heads, a throwback to Norse ships.
Check out the sweet dragon carvings on the roof:
Other examples of stave architecture can be found throughout Norway, and in (two rare instances) Poland and Sweden. The church in Borgund presently serves as a museum operated by the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Norwegian Monuments.
It looks even more magical when the Northern Lights come around between late autumn and early spring:
[h/t Twisted Sifter