Medieval churches in Denmark

St. Nicolai Church

St. Nicolai Church dates to the 13th century. Originally built in late Romanesque style and dedicated to the patron saint of merchants and seafarers, the church is the oldest building in the community. Renovations in the 15th century developed the church into a Gothic hall with two transepts and a tower 27.2 m high. On display in a glass-covered sarcophagus in the northern transept are the remains of the Haraldskær Woma ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Vejle, Denmark

Church of Our Lady

The Church of Our Lady with its five distinctive towers is the most imposing landmark of Kalundborg. The church is built of red brick, indicating that it was constructed no earlier than 1170 when brick was first used in Denmark. Coincidentally, this is also the date of nearby Esbern Snare"s castle, the site"s first fortification. The architectural design, however, would indicate a rather later date, possibly in ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Kalundborg, Denmark

Sulsted Church

Sulsted Church, located in Sulsted, a small Danish town in northern Jutland, just north of Aalborg, was constructed c. 1150-1200 and features a large number of frescos or kalkmalerier, all created in 1548 by Hans Maler from Randers. Unlike other frescos in Danish churches, Sulsted"s murals were not concealed with limewash after the Reformation and have survived to this day. The frescos, which decorate the ceiling of ...
Founded: 1150-1200 | Location: Sulsted, Denmark

Skibinge Church

The beautiful whitewashed Skibinge church stands on the top of a hill in the outskirts of Skibinge. It was built in the 12th century, and the porch and the tower was added after the 15th centrury. The interior is decorated with a late Gothic pulpit from about 1500 and a beautiful altarpiece from 1669.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Præstø, Denmark

Kirkerup Church

Kirkerup Church is one of the oldest churches in the diocese of Roskilde. It dates back to the 12th century and is well worth a visit due many beautiful Romanesque and Gothic frescos.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Roskilde, Denmark

Snoldelev Church

Snoldelev Church was built around 1100 to the site of older wooden church. The frescoes date from the 1550s and pulpit from 1594.
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Gadstrup, Denmark

Avnede Church

Avnede Church was originally a wooden structure, probably one of the first to be built on Lolland in the early 11th century. It was located near a spring known in pre-Christian times and later Christianized as St Lawrence"s spring. It was well known for the powerful effects of its waters. The church itself was also originally dedicated to St Lawrence. Today"s stone building dates from the end of the 14th century ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Nakskov, Denmark

Fanefjord Church

Fanefjord Church is one of the Danish island of Møn"s most famous attractions. The site itself is of considerable historic interest. A few hundred meters to the south of the church there is a particularly long barrow, Grønsalen, the supposed burial ground of Queen Fane and her husband Grøn Jæger who, according to a local folklore, lived some 4,000 years ago. The church"s original 7 m ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Askeby, Denmark

Errindlev Church

Errindlev Church dates from the second half of the 12th century. It has a Romanesque chancel and nave. The church is said to have been dedicated to St Nicholas because of its associations with seafarers who used it as a landmark. After the Reformation it belonged to the Crown until in 1699 it was transferred to Flemming Holck til Lungholm whose estate was acquired by Christian Detlev Reventlow. As a result, it later came ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Errindlev, Denmark

Kappel Church

Kappel Church was constructed as a chapel around 1464. It was as a pilgrimage site believed to have healing properties. After the Reformation there were orders to pull down the building, possibly owing to Catholic connections. This never occured and it became a parish church. The pulpit was introduced in the 17th century. The altarpiece is an 1860 painting by Jørgen Roed.
Founded: c. 1464 | Location: Nakskov, Denmark

Engestofte Church

Engestofte Church was built around the year 1100. The whitewashed Gothic church was restored in 1856-57. Pews, organ case and pulpit in modern Gothic style are painted to look like oak, and the pulpit, decorated by Willie the carver - Copenhagen, furthermore with gilt. The altarpiece is a late Gothic cabinet with double side panels, certainly a work from Lübeck from about 1510. It is considered to be among the most b ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Maribo, Denmark

St. Ib's Church

St Ib's Church (Sankt Ibs kirke or Ibsker) is a fine 12th century Romanesque building. The church was originally known as Beati Jacobi (1335), in 1429 it became Sancti Jacobs kirke (St Jacob's Church) and later evolved to Ibs Kirke (Ib being the familiar Scandinavian form of Jacob) which in turn became Ibsker (ker meaning church). Today the parish is officially known as Ibsker. The church consists of a Romanesque tower, ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Svaneke, 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

Olsker Church

Sankt Ols Kirke (St Olaf's Church), also known as Olsker Church, is a 12th century round church located in the village of Olsker. Built in the Romanesque style and reaching three storeys high, it has from the beginning consisted of a round nave, a choir and an apse. The church was named after the revered King Olaf II of Norway who fell at the Battle of Stiklestad in 1030. The church first belonged to the Archbishopric of ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Allinge, Denmark

Birket Church

Built around 1350, Birket church is rather younger than many country churches in the area which are typically from the 12th and 13th centuries. Until 1687, it had its own parish priest but it was then annexed to Vesterborg until 1914. After the Reformation it came under the ownership of the Crown but in 1686 was transferred to Pedr Brandt til Pederstrup. The church became independent in 1914. The church, built of brick o ...
Founded: 1350 | Location: Torrig, 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

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

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

Olstrup Church

Olstrup Church is a Romanesque church built around 1200. In the Middle Ages, the church was originally dedicated to St Lawrence. Built of red brick, the relatively small church first consisted of a Romanesque chancel and nave. It was later extended to the west in the Late Gothic period with a stepped gable. The chancel"s cross-vaults and the round chancel arch may date from the church"s original construction. Th ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Errindlev, Denmark

Femø Church

Femø Church was built around 1500. It was consecrated for Sankt Nikolaus, the patron saint of mariners. The remarkable crucifix has been made in c. 1300. It was placed in the church in 1939. The former altarpiece is standing in the steeple room. The font is a piece of Gothic limestone creation with tip curved sepals, which are fetched from Gotland. There are a birth basin made of brass in the year of 1859 and a bir ...
Founded: c. 1500 | Location: Maribo, Denmark

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Eketorp Fort

Eketorp is an Iron Age fort in southeastern Öland, which was extensively reconstructed and enlarged in the Middle Ages. Throughout the ages the fortification has served a variety of somewhat differing uses: from defensive ringfort, to medieval safe haven and thence a cavalry garrison. In the 20th century it was further reconstructed to become a heavily visited tourist site and a location for re-enactment of medieval battles. Eketorp is the only one of the 19 known prehistoric fortifications on Öland that has been completely excavated, yielding a total of over 24,000 individual artifacts. The entirety of southern Öland has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Eketorp fortification is often referred to as Eketorp Castle.

The indigenous peoples of the Iron Age constructed the original fortification about 400 AD, a period known to have engendered contact between Öland natives with Romans and other Europeans. The ringfort in that era is thought to have been a gathering place for religious ceremonies and also a place of refuge for the local agricultural community when an outside enemy appeared. The circular design was believed to be chosen because the terrain is so level that attack from any side was equally likely. The original diameter of this circular stone fortification was about 57 metres. In the next century the stone was moved outward to construct a new circular structure of about 80 metres in diameter. At this juncture there were known to be about fifty individual cells or small structures within the fort as a whole. Some of these cells were in the center of the fortified ring, and some were actually built into the wall itself.

In the late 600s AD the ringfort was mysteriously abandoned, and it remained unused until the early 11th century. This 11th century work generally built upon the earlier fort, except that stone interior cells were replaced with timber structures, and a second outer defensive wall was erected.

Presently the fort is used as a tourist site for visitors to Öland to experience a medieval fortification for this region. A museum within the castle walls displays a few of the large number of artefacts retrieved by the National Heritage Board during the major decade long excavation ending in 1974. Inside the fort visitors are greeted by actors in medieval costumes who assume the roles of period artisans and merchants who might have lived there nine centuries earlier. There are also re-enactment scenes of skirmishes and other dramatic events of daily life from the Middle Ages.

Eketorp lies a few kilometers west of Route 136. There is an ample unpaved parking area situated approximately two kilometers west of the paved Öland perimeter highway. There is also a gift shop on site. During peak summer visitation, there are guided tours available. Visitors are assessed an admission charge.