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The Stave Church increases the Faith of a city, speeding up the rate at which you can found and spread religions. The city must contain a Shrine before the Stave Church can be constructed. The Stave Church has no maintenance cost and takes half the time to produce as the Temple, which it replaces.
Stave churches were wooden, post-and-beam constructions found throughout medieval Scandinavia after the Vikings converted to Christianity. In Sweden alone it is estimated that over 1000 stave churches were built, the oldest dating back to the mid-1100s. Besides their religious function, stave churches often served as meeting halls, cultural centers, courthouses, and even as marketplaces. Early stave churches were palisade constructions, with steeply pitched roofs to shed the heavy snows. The churches had elaborate wooden carvings, usually Christian in design but occasionally depicting pre-Christian heroes and myths. Later, only the corner posts were set in the earth, with planking covering the frame. Currently 30 stave churches remain standing, all save two in Norway.