Medieval churches in Denmark

Glenstrup Abbey Church

Glenstrup Abbey, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was founded about 1125 as a Benedictine monastery. The nobleman Svend Bo and his wife Inger Thott gave property and several farms to support it in the mid-12th century. It was built on the site of a holy spring called Maria"s Spring in medieval times. The location was a religious one in Viking times and the abbey was most likely constructed on the site of a stave chapel ...
Founded: 1125 | Location: Fårup, Denmark

Gurreby Church

Gurreby Church was built in c. 1200 in Romanesque style. It has no tower, only ridge turret added later in the Middle Ages. The original altarpiece from 1518 is today in National Museum, Copenhagen. The pulpit dates from the early 1600s.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Søllested, Denmark

Herritslev Church

Herritslev church was built around 1220 under the rule of Valdemar II of Denmark. The tower and vaults were added 150-200 years later in Gothic style. The pulpit, made in Dutch Renaissance style, dates from 1610. There are some frescoes in the vaults from the 13th century. In the cemetery on churchyard is a notable medieval stone wall.
Founded: c. 1220 | Location: Nysted, Denmark

Hillested Church

Hillested Church dates from the c. 1200. It is a Romanesque village church, built of large stones with clearly extensions. The altar dates from 1588 with a later reredos. Pulpit dates from the Renaissance period.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Maribo, Denmark

Købelev Church

Købelev Church was built around 1300 and restored in 1883 and 1970. The chancel gable wall is a beautiful architectural work. The churchs organ is one of the few Gudme company Organs, which are still existing. The altarpiece is a work by the famous church painter Eckersburg from 1841. The interior of the church contains a pew with the name of a smallholder Otto Kulds, engraved upon it. This is dated 1646.
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Nakskov, Denmark

Landet Church

Landet Church was built in the 12th century. It is the one of few Lolland churches made of Granite. The tower, porch and sacristy were aded later. The impressive tower was also used as a lighthouse. The altar dates from 1582 and pulpit from 1610.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Søllested, Denmark

Lille Løjtofte Church

The small Lille Løjtofte Church was built around 1250 and restored in 1799. The church has a valuable and characteristic font, probably made in Gotland. The altarpiece dates from the time of the Danish king Christian IV (1588-1648).The church has no tower; the bell hangs in the gable.
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Nakskov, Denmark

Majbølle Church

Majbølle Church was constructed around 1270. The tower and large chapel which were added around 1470. There has been a holy well in Majbølle churchyard (no longer existing), which considerably attracted more pilgrimages. The holy well was dedicated to Saint Anne (the Virgin Mary"s mother). The church was originally called St. Anne"s church. An object of interest is the stock of the church tower fro ...
Founded: c. 1270 | Location: Guldborg, Denmark

Musse Church

There may has been a church on the site of current Musse church since 11th century and it is one of the oldest Christian sites on the Lolland island. The current church was built around 1200 and since Reformation it has been a chapel of Døllefjelde church. The altar dates from c. 1585 and pulpit from 1625.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Nysted, Denmark

Nebbelunde Church

Nebbelunde Church was built around 1200 and it consists of a Romanesque main body, with a Gothic vestry and small tower. The building material were large medieval bricks known as 'monk stones'. The altar was painted in c. 1625. There are pictoresque medieval mural paintings in vaults, made probably by so-called Brarup workshop.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Rodby, Denmark

Nordlunde Church

Nordlunde Church was built in c. 1300 of red bricks. The chancel gable is embellished with brick ornaments. The church bell was set up on the west gable due church has no tower. The altarpiece dates from 1864 and was painted by N.A. Lutzen.
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Nakskov, Denmark

Hover Church

Completed in the first half of the twelfth century, Hover Church is one of the oldest churches in Denmark. In 1771, the church"s west gable was damaged by a storm. A heavy buttress now supports one wall. The porch was built in the 1500s in late Gothic style on the south side of the church, where the men"s entrance once was. The women"s entrance was on the north side of the church. The frescoes are dated to ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Spjald, Denmark

Ringsebølle Church

Ringsebølle Church is a small church built in c. 1220. According a legend it was built by Irish monks. The Gothic choir and porch were added later. The church was originally placed on an island, whereby the church´s yard is octagonal shaped. Over the door there is a stone with a motif of a rider who was hunting a pagan and a bear on the run. The altar and pulpit date from 1870.
Founded: c. 1220 | Location: Rødby, Denmark

Skørringe Church

The whitewashed Skørringe Church was built of so-called monk stones around 1200. The tower was not added until in 1700s. The church has a beautifully kept churchyard. Inside there is a plaster relief of a famous work by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvalsen.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Maribo, Denmark

Slemminge Church

Slemminge Church was built in the 12th century. The unusually big tower was built in the late Middle Ages in Gothic style. The spire was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1901. The frescoes in choir vaults were made between 1475-1500. The altarpiece dates from c. 1585 and pulpit from 1610.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Sakskøbing, Denmark

Søllested Church

Søllested Church was built of granite originally in c. 1100. It has no tower. The pulpit dates from the early 1600s and the altar was painted by Peter Raadsig in 1855. In the churchyard is a rare small bell campanile from the late Middle Ages.
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Søllested, Denmark

Våbensted Church

Våbensted Church was built in the 13th century and the tower was erected in 1674. The southern chapel is from the Baroque period. The altarpiece dates from about 1620 and is painted by August Jerndorff.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sakskøbing, Denmark

Aastrup Church

Aastrup Church dates from c. 1200. Built in the Late Romanesque style, it has frescos from the 13th and 15th centuries. The church was dedicated to St Anne although this was probably not its original patron as Anne was not generally known in Denmark until the late Middle Ages. The Crown, which enjoyed clerical appointment rights since before the Reformation, sold the church in 1767 to the parish priest, C. H. Biering. In ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Stubbekobing, Denmark

Vindeby Church

The nave and choir of Vindeby Church were built in c. 1300 and it was dedicated to St. Andreas. The tower was erected around 1505. Gothic vaults were decorated with mural paintings around 1400 and they were restored in the 20th century. the altar was made in Netherlands around 1550 and pulpit dates from 1602.
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Horslunde, Denmark

Falkerslev Church

Falkerslev Church was built around the year 1300. The altar dates from 1766 and the altarpiece was painted by Aug. Thomsen in 1845.
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Horbelev, Denmark

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.