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More Than A Chapel In The Hills


PIERRE, S.D. – In a quiet Rapid City residential area, visitors will find a chapel not quite like the others in town.

The Chapel in the Hills, otherwise known as the Stavkirke, is an exact replica of the 850-year-old Borgund Stavkirke located in Norway. The chapel was built with plans from and in cooperation with the Norwegian government, and features hand-carved entrances and 16,000 hand-cut shingles.

"The chapel’s hand-carved entrance depicts snakes and dragons, the struggle between good and evil," said Terry Satrang, Manager of the Chapel in the Hills. "One visitor noted that the hand-cut shingles look like dragon scales."

The chapel grounds also include a stabbur, meaning storehouse in Norwegian, and a log cabin built by a Norwegian immigrant and prospector. The stabbur was built in Norway, shipped to Rapid City and re-assembled. The cabin is furnished with hand made, period pieces such as beds, chairs, dishes and storage containers.

"For many visitors, the Chapel in the Hills offers a quiet rest from busy travel schedules," said Satrang. "People come to meditate, pray, and just watch the world go by in the peaceful, natural surroundings."

The Chapel in the Hills welcomes all visitors and charges no admission, though donations are appreciated. For more information, visit

The In Your Own Backyard series is a project of the South Dakota Office of Tourism designed to highlight unique aspects and attractions all across South Dakota. Click on the special "In Your Own Backyard" link at to access the complete list of articles.

The In Your Own Backyard series is part of Goal 1 of the 2010 Initiative to double visitor spending in South Dakota. The Office of Tourism serves under the direction of Richard Benda, Secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development.