Top Historic Sights in Falköping, Sweden

Explore the historic highlights of Falköping

Gudhem Abbey Ruins

Gudhem Abbey, (Gudhems kloster), in operation from 1152 to 1529, was a nunnery in Sweden, initially Benedictine and later Cistercian. It is considered to have been one of the oldest convents in Sweden, after Vreta Abbey (1100) and Alvastra Abbey (1143). Gudhem, a name signifying "Home of the Gods", was according to tradition a holy place of worship already before Christianity. According to the saga, one hundred images of ...
Founded: 1152 | Location: Falköping, Sweden

Dagsnäs Castle

The earliest known records of Dagsnäs estate date back to the 15th century, when it was owned by Gumsehuvud family. The current main building was built in 1772-1782 by Per Tham. The current appearance originates from the restoration made according the plan of Helgo Zettervall in 1874. Over the years several Viking age runestones from the region have been moved to the castle grounds.
Founded: 1772-1782 | Location: Falköping, Sweden

St. Olaf's Church

The medieval church of St. Olaf (Sankt Olofs Kyrka) was built originally in the 12th century. The nave was enlarged to west in the mid-1200s and the present western tower was added later. The church is a well-preserved sample of medieval architecture.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Falköping, Sweden

Marka Church

The Romanescue style Marka Church was built in the late 1100s or early 1200s. The sacristy was added later in the Middle Ages. The original tower was demolished in 1750 and the new wooden belfry was completed in 1752. The great bell date from the year 1583 and the small one from 1751. The altarpiece date from the late 17th century as well as the Baroque-style pulpit.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Falköping, Sweden

Skörstorp Church

Skörstorp Church was built in the middle of the 12th century, and is the only remaining medieval round church in the Diocese of Skara. It derives its shape from originally being built to serve several different purposes; apart from a place of worship, it also served a defensive purpose, i.e. it was a fortified church. The church has been altered successively throughout the centuries. The church porch is not original ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Falköping, Sweden

Gökhem Church

Gökhem Church was built in the late 1100s or early 1200s. The church is a typical medieval building, built in the Romanesque period. It is best known of mural paintings made by master Amund in the 15th century. The original organs were built in the 1775. The belfry was erected by Russian prisoners of war in 1720.
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Falköping, Sweden

Kinneved Church

The medieval Kinneved church was made in the Romanesque style between in the late 1100s. It have thick limestone walls. The vestry was added in the 18th century, and the tower built in the 19th century. Much of the interior furniture and ornamentation dates from the 18th century. There is also a medieval gravestone embedded in the wall outside the nave.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Falköping, Sweden

Luttra Passage Grave

The Neolithic passage grave (a tomb where the burial chamber is reached along a distinct, and usually low, passage) of Luttra is one of the best preserved of its kind in Västergötland. Still time has not been acting too gracious on this site, this ancient tomb is damaged and even partly destroyed. It only has one roofblock left, and the passage is just a metre long - it originally used to be longer. But it is, n ...
Founded: ca. 3400 BC | Location: Falköping, Sweden

Agnestad Church Ruins

Agnestad church was probably built in the 12th century. It was once the smallest round church in Sweden. Under it archaeologists have found traces of an older church, probably made out of wood, and its churchyard. The church was probably abandoned in the 1500s. Today only ruins remain.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Falköping, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.