Cathedrals in Sweden

Storkyrkan

Storkyrkan (Great Church, Stockholm Cathedral), officially Church of St. Nicholas, is the oldest church in Gamla Stan, the old town in central Stockholm. It was first mentioned in 1279 and according to tradition was originally built by Birger Jarl, the founder of the city itself. For nearly four hundred years it was the only parish church in the city, the other churches of comparible antiquity originally built to serve th ...
Founded: 1279 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Saint Eric's Cathedral

Saint Eric's Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral located on Södermalm. It was built in 1892 and was raised to the status of a cathedral in 1953, when the Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockholm was created (still the only one in Sweden). The substantial increase in the number of Catholics in Stockholm and Sweden, mostly as a result of immigration after World War II, made the old church insufficient, and an extension, ...
Founded: 1892 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Lund Cathedral

Lund Cathedral was consecrated in 1145, and contains many well-known artefacts and features of considerable historical interest. Since then service has been held here every day for almost 900 years. Today over 700 000 persons visit the church each year with some 85 000 who attends a service. The first cathedral was built in Lund before 1085, but it is difficult to know if the present building was built in the same place. ...
Founded: 1080-1145 | Location: Lund, Sweden

Uppsala Cathedral

Uppsala Cathedral is the largest and tallest cathedral and one of the most impressive religious buildings in Scandinavia. Originally built in the 13th century under Roman Catholicism and used for coronations of the Swedish monarch, since the Protestant Reformation, it has been controlled by the Lutheran Church of Sweden. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Uppsala, the primate of Sweden. The construction of the cathedral ...
Founded: 1287-1435 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Gothenburg Cathedral

Gothenburg Cathedral (Gustavi domkyrka or Göteborgs domkyrka) lies near the heart of the city. The cathedral was built in 1815 and replaced an earlier cathedral built in the 17th century. The architect was Carl Willhelm Carlberg. The cathedral is a fine example of neoclassical architecture. It is one of the top tourist destinations in the city. The Cathedral acts as a venue for a wide range of classical concerts and reci ...
Founded: 1815 | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Visby Cathedral

Visby Cathedral (also known as St. Mary’s Church) is the only survived medieval church in Visby. It was originally built for German merchants and inaugurated in 1225. Around the year 1350 the church was enlarged and converted into a basilica. The two-storey magazine was also added then above the nave as a warehouse for merchants. There is not much left of the original interior. The font is made of local red marble ...
Founded: 1225 | Location: Visby, Sweden

Linköping Cathedral

The Linköping Cathedral is the seat for the bishop in the Church of Sweden Diocese of Linköping. The present church is about 800 years old. However, its history starts in the 11th century, with a wooden church being built. Later, around 1120, a stone church was being constructed; a basilica of about half the size of the present building. Around 1230 it became necessary to construct a larger church, as the basil ...
Founded: c. 1120 | Location: Linköping, Sweden

Växjö Cathedral

Växjö Cathedral was built as a single-nave stone church around 1120. According the legend the Cathedral was built on the spot where St. Sigfrid founded a wooden church. His relics were kept here until the Reformation, when they were destroyed. The cathedral burnt down the first time in 1276 and has since been renovated numerous times. The lofty copper clad twin spires of the cathedral give Växjö a ver ...
Founded: ca. 1120 | Location: Växjö, Sweden

Skara Cathedral

Skara Cathedral is the seat for the bishop of the Church of Sweden Diocese of Skara. It is also one the largest churches in Sweden. The history of cathedral is traced from the 11th century and it was inaugurated as a cathedral around 1150. The current appearance is from the 13th century. The current Gothic design dates to the 1886-1894 restoration under the leadership of architect Helgo Zettervall. The furnishings are uni ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Skara, Sweden

Västerås Cathedral

The oldest parts of Västerås Cathedral date from the 13th century. It was originally built as a triple-aisled basilica in the 1230s and inaugurated in 1271. The cathedral was rebuilt and enlarged during the next two centuries. The tower was erected around 1420. The steeple was added in 1691 and it was designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger. The most famous person buried to the Västerås Cathedral i ...
Founded: 1230-1271 | Location: Västerås, Sweden

Kalmar Cathedral

The new city of Kalmar built on Kvarnholmen around the mid-1700s. The transfer from the old town was largely completed in 1658. The new, fortified town was planned after the current renaissance ideals. According to this pattern were placed Kalmar Cathedral and town hall across from each other at a major square Stortorget Kalmar. The cathedral was built, designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Elder and is one of the foremost exa ...
Founded: 1660-1703 | Location: Kalmar, Sweden

Karlstad Cathedral

Karlstad cathedral, which replaced an earlier one in a different location that was destroyed by fire, was built in the 1730 by design of Christian Haller. It is constructed of natural stone and brick which is plastered over. It took around sixty years to complete the interior decorations. The church, which is in a baroque style, has some neo-classical features. It has a light interior.
Founded: 1730 | Location: Karlstad, Sweden

Luleå Cathedral

Luleå Cathedral serves the Diocese of Luleå and the local Church of Sweden parish. It was consecrated in 1893. The church was originally named Oscar Fredrik Church (Oscar Fredriks kyrka), after the King Oscar (Fredrik) II. It became cathedral when the Diocese of Luleå was formed in 1904.
Founded: 1893 | Location: Luleå, Sweden

Härnösand Cathedral

Härnösand city"s first church was built 1593. In 1721 the church was burned down by Russian troops, and a new church was erected, and that church was eventually destroyed. The present church was completed in 1846 and built according to plans by John Hawerman. The present church is located in the same location as the original and is Sweden"s smallest cathedral. The altar painting is by David von Coln. ...
Founded: 1846 | Location: Härnösand, Sweden

Strängnäs Cathedral

Strängnäs Cathedral is built mainly of bricks in the characteristic Scandinavian Brick Gothic style. The original church was built of wood, probably during the first decades of the 12th century, on a spot where pagan rituals used to take place and where the missionary Saint Eskil was killed during the mid 11th century. The wooden church was not rebuilt in stone and bricks until 1296, just after Strängnäs became a dioc ...
Founded: 1296-1334 | Location: Strängnäs, Sweden

Mariestad Cathedral

Mariestad Cathedral was built in Gothic style between 1593-1615 and is very unusual in being one of the few churches built in Sweden in the late 16th century. It is one of only two churches in Sweden to bear the title cathedral while not being the seat of a bishop. In this case it is because a bishop was once resident here and the seat has since been moved.
Founded: 1593-1615 | Location: Mariestad, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Wawel Castle

Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Kraków, have provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century. Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight. Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislane tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Miesco I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslas the Brave (992-1025) and Miesco II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.

At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Kraków was established in the year 1000.

During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Kraków was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Kraków along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.

In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill. Around that time, at the initiative of Ladislas the Short, the construction of the third Gothic cathedral began, the castle was expanded and the old wooden and earthen fortifications were replaced by brick ones. The tomb of Ladislas the Short in the cathedral started a royal necropolis of Polish kings in Krakow.The last descendant of the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370) brought Wawel to a state of unprecedented splendour. In 1364 the expanded gothic castle witnessed the marriage of Casimir’s granddaughter Elizabeth to Charles IV accompanied by a famous convention of kings and princes, subsequently entertained by a rich burgher Wierzynek. The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel. The royal court employed local and western European artists and also Rus painters. During the reign of Casimir Jagiellon (1447-1492) the silhouette of the hill was enriched by three high brick towers: the Thieves’ Tower, the Sandomierz Tower and the Senatorial Tower. The first humanists in Poland and tutors to the king’s sons: historian Jan Długosz and an Italian by the name Filippo Buonacorsi (also known as Callimachus) worked there at that time.

The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Sigismund’s patronage also left an indelible impression in the cathedral, where a family chapel was erected, known today as Sigismund’s Chapel - the work of Bartolomeo of Berrecci Florence, and through various foundations, one of which was that of a large bell, called the Sigismund to commemorate the king. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza. Alongside Italian artists, German architects, wood workers, painters and metal smiths worked for the king. The last descendant of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), enriched the castle’s interiors with a magnificent collection of tapestries woven in Brussels. In the “Golden Age” of Polish culture Wawel became one of the main centres of humanism in Europe.

The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style. The relocation of the royal court to Warsaw was the cause of a slow but nevertheless steady deterioration in the castle’s condition. The monarchs visited Kraków only occasionally. Restoration of the castle was undertaken during the reign of John III Sobieski, the Wettins and Stanislas Augustus to counteract neglect.

After Poland had lost its independence in 1795, the troops of partitioning nations, Russia, Prussia and Austria, subsequently occupied Wawel which finally passed into the hands of the Austrians. The new owners converted the castle and some of the secular buildings into a military hospital, and demolished some others, including churches. After the period of the Free City of Kraków (1815-1846) Wawel was once more annexed by Austria and turned into a citadel dominating the city. By the resolution passed by the Seym of Galicia in 1880, the castle was presented as a residence to the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I. The Austrian troops left the hill between 1905-1911. At the turn of the 20th century a thorough restoration of the cathedral was conducted, and shortly afterwards a process of restoration of the royal castle began which lasted several decades.

When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the castle served as an official residence of the Head of State, and as a museum of historic interiors. During the Nazi occupation the castle was the residence of the German governor general, Hans Frank. Polish people managed to remove the most valuable objects, including the tapestries and the “Szczerbiec” coronation sword to Canada, from where they returned as late as 1959-1961. At present, the main curators of Wawel are Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection and the Metropolitan Basilica Board on Wawel Hill.