Medieval churches in Denmark

Gundslev Church

Gundslev Church situated 1 km from the town Gundslev, because the village was moved in the 14th century. The church was founded pribably in the 12th century. It has a neat and harmonious appearance, and is constructed of red brick. The interior contains some early frecoes, dating probably from around 1300. They include depictions of the twelve apostles, in good condition, perhaps because they are likely to have offended P ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Nørre Alslev, Denmark

Tingsted Church

Tingsted Church, located on high ground in the village of Tingsted, dates from c. 1200. Built in the Romanesque style, it is best known for its frescos from the end of the 15th century. At an early stage, the pink-plastered church was dedicated to St Peter. As the name Tingsted implies, the place was originally associated with early lawmaking in the area. In 1329, King Christopher II concluded an agreement with Marsk Ludv ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark

Horbelev Church

Horbelev Church dates from c. 1200. The chancel and nave were built in Romanesque style and the church has unusually high walls. It is one of the oldest churches in Falster. The Gothic tower and porch were added in late medieval times.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Horbelev, Denmark

Randrup Church Ruins

Randrup Church was built probably around 1200. Very little is known of the church origins, not even when it was demolished. Today fragments of foundations remain.
Founded: 1200 | Location: Spentrup, Denmark

Torkilstrup Church

Torkilstrup Church was built of hewn fieldstone rather than brick, indicating it is one of the oldest churches on the island from before 1160. The western part of the chancel and the nave from the Romanesque period are built of hewn fieldstone with a few limestone trimmings. Rounded-arch friezes, sometimes with ornamental lilies, decorate the north and south walls of the nave, indicating an early design. The round-arched ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Eskilstrup, Denmark

Horreby Church

Horreby Church probably dates from the 12th century. Annexed to Falkerslev, it was set to be demolished in 1688 but the decision was retracted. It did however close in 1696 but was reopened the following year by order of the king.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark

Idestrup Church

Idestrup Church built in the Romanesque style dates from the 12th century. With its whitewashed walls, rounded windows and a red tiled roof it stands in the middle of the town. There is a crucifix from the 14th century and memorial epitaphs from the early 17th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Idestrup, Denmark

Lillebraende Church

Lillebrænde Church has a Romanesque chancel and the nave has been constructed of red monk bricks in th 14th century. It has never been whitewashed. There has been lacerated on the chancel window, which has been covered behind the altarpiece since 1944. The altarpiece has now been removed and today the mural paintings function as altar pictures. Late Gothic chancel arch crucifix date from 1450.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Stubbekøbing, Denmark

Arninge Church

Arninge Church is a Late Romanesque church built of red brick in the 13th century. It has an intricately carved auricular altarpiece created by Henrik Werner in 1644. The church was originally dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Built of red brick, the church consists of a Romanesque apse, chancel and nave and a Gothic porch. There is a free-standing 14th century timber bell tower adjacent to the church. The chancel has traces ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Dannemare, Denmark

Maglebraende Church

The whitewashed church in Maglebrænde was built of monk bricks (large medieval bricks) with a Romanesque choir around 1400. There is no tower, but a little spire on the roof. The church has a few murals from 1300s and 1500s with religious motifs.
Founded: c. 1400 | Location: Stubbekøbing, Denmark

Nørre Ørslev Church

Nørre Ørslev with Romanesque choir and nave was built around the year 1250. The Gothic tower and modern porch were added later. The church is now painted pink and red.
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark

Skelby Church

Skelby church was built originally around the year 1200 and the tower was added in 1400s. In 1857 the church was in bad shape and the nave and choir were rebuilt of yellow bricks. On the northern side of the nave, the ruling body of Niels Amager set up a chalk stone epitafium. There is an interesting octagonal limestone font from 1175-1200, made in Gotland.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Gedser, Denmark

Sønder Alslev Church

Sønder Alslev Church was built around the year 1200, but it has been altered several times. It has a Romanesque nave, Gothic tower and chapel from 1796. The latest restoration of choir and apse was made in 1861.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark

Sønder Kirkeby Church

Sønder Kirkeby Church dates from the 12th century, but it was strongly altered during the restoration in 1865.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark

Vålse Church

Vålse Church was built around 1100 and it is consecrated to Sankt Olav, whose figure can be seen on the triptych altarpiece dating from 1450. Furthermore there is a relief of the crucification and the 12 apostles and 4 saints.
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Norre Alslev, Denmark

Elling Church

Elling Church was built in the first half of 13th century. It was made of large bricks. There are beautiful details in the church, like the votive ship from 1757 and pulpit from 1766.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Frederikshavn, Denmark

Astrup Church

Astrup church was constructed of granite and bricks between 1200-1250. The tower was mentioned in 1639 but today it doesn"t exist anymore. There is a grave of Bøgsted family members in the east side. In 1908 some rune carvings were founded from the wall.
Founded: 1200-1250 | Location: Hjørring, Denmark

Fuglse Church

The medieval church of Fuglse was originally dedicated to St Lawrence but after it was rebuilt in 1595 it was dedicated to the Holy Trinity. After the Reformation it was owned by the Crown until it was transferred to the prefect Henning Ulrich von Lützow in 1689 who gained ownership of nearby Søholt the following year. It later came into the ownership of Raben Huitfeld Levetzau til Kærstrup (1835) and th ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Holeby, Denmark

Gloslunde Church

Gloslunde Church was built in the 13th century. Built of red brick but now whitewashed, the church consists of a Romanesque chancel and nave and a Gothic porch and sacristy. A 14th-century timber bell tower stands close to the church"s northwest corner. There are two small Romanesque windows on the chancel gable, now both bricked up. The east gable is also decorated with a round-arch frieze. The original flat wooden ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Dannemare, Denmark

Fjelsø Church

Fjelsø Church oldest parts date from the 1200s, built of granite ashlars. The interior was decorated with paintings in 1895. The pulpit dates from 1736.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Aalestrup, 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.