Medieval churches in 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 the n ...
Founded: 1150-1200 | Location: Sulsted, Denmark

Gunderup Church

The choir and nave of Gunderup Church were built in the 1100s, but the church was rebuilt and enlarged in 1445. The chapel was added around 1500. The altarpiece is a triptych from 1537-1538. The pulpit dates from 1800s. The Gothic frescoes from around 1500 were revealed in 1930s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Gistrup, Denmark

Barrit Church

The church in Barrit origins probably from 1152-1160. It was originally white. The church went through several re-buildings but the present look is from a main restoration in 1879, where the old church was re-walled with red bricks from a demolished tilework in Breth.
Founded: 1152-1160 | Location: Hedensted, Denmark

Nexø Church

The actual building time of Nexø Church is unknown, but the construction was probably started around the year 1346. It represents the late Gothic style and is dedicated to St. Nicholas, the saint of seafarers. The church tower was added in the 16th century and the spire in 1910. The pulpit and gilded cruficix date from the 17th century.
Founded: ca. 1346 | Location: Nexø, Denmark

Gjellerup Church

Gjellerup Church, built in the 12th century, is unique for its Latin inscription in the tympanon above former door facing to the south. The inscription, carved in 1140, makes Gjellerup Church the oldest dated building in Denmark. The church is consecrated to the Roman martyr St. Laurentius. There are traces of a Romanesque tower, and the sheer size of the church is remarkable. The oldest parts are the chancel and nave. Th ...
Founded: c. 1140 | Location: Herning, Denmark

Gedesby Church

Gedesby church is built with a longhouse in the Gothic style with with pointed arch windows and a Gothic tower base, of brick in monk bond. Originally the church was crown land, that is royal property until 1767, when it along with the main church in Skelby was sold along with the rest of Falster equestrian goods. The altarpiece of the Dutch wing type from 1573 is pretty and well preserved with a figure rich crucifixion ...
Founded: c. 1350 | Location: Gedser, Denmark

Odden Church

Odden church dates from the 14th century and it was painted red in 1874. The crucifix in the belfry room is as old as the church. On the other side is a painting 'Christ in prayer in the garden of Getsemane' painted in Rome by a Ziegler a donated to the church in 1878. The pulpit is from 1821. The font contains of two parts. It is believed, that the one below is from the old chapel and was the holy water stoup. ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Sjællands Odde, Denmark

Braaby Church

The precise date of the Braaby Church"s construction is not known but it was first documented around 1370 when it consisted of the current Romanesque nave and a smaller chancel, both built of limestone blocks. In about 1500, the tower, porch and north chapel were added with decorations consisting of belts of brick and limestone. The present chancel was constructed in c. 1570. After Steward of the Realm Peder Oxe had ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Haslev, Denmark

Notmark Church

Notmark Church was built around 1200. The tower is probably built also for defensive purposes. The altarpiece dates from the 1520s as well as the Renaissance style pulpit and crucifix.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Augustenborg, Denmark

St. James' Church

St. James" Church or Skt. Ibs Kirke is a travertine church from around 1100. In 1808 it was transformed into a field hospital for Spanish soldiers. In 1816 the church and the graveyard were sold to a local merchant and used as warehouse until 1884. The porch, tower and chancel were demolished, however, the church was restored in 1922. Today, only the aisle is left. The famous Danish painter L.A. Ring is burried in th ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Roskilde, Denmark

Præstø Church

The current Præstø Church was built in the mid-1400s to the site of earlier church. There was also a monastery from the end of 1200s to Reformation (1530s). Abbey buildings were demolished in 1563. The finest detail in the church is an altar donated by Laurits Nielsen in 1657.
Founded: c. 1450 | Location: Præstø, Denmark

Kalvehave Church

Kalvehave Church was built around 1225-1250 of large bricks near to a holy spring. The church is rebuilt and extended several times. The altarpiece was made in Renaissance style in the end of the 16th century. The Baroque pulpit dates from 1639.
Founded: 1225 | Location: Kalvehave, Denmark

Egen Church

Egen Church dates from the 12th century and free-standing bell tower from the late Middle Ages. At the cemetery of Egen Church, near Guderup, the memorial stones of the fallen in World War I (1914-18) is found at the clock tower. Here 66 memorial stones in marble is placed in memory of the fallen sons of Egen parish.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Guderup, Denmark

Daugård Church

The large white-washed church in Daugård has a Romanesque choir and nave with late Gothic additions: a tower to the west and a porch to the south. The choir arch seems expanded in the late Gothic period and like the eastern part of the choir rebuilt in monk bricks. Upon the north wall of the choir were in 1956 found fragmentaric Romanesque frescoes from c. 1200. The altarpiece is a typical work by Jens Hiernøe from c. ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Daugård, Denmark

Hejls Church

Hejls church was built in the Romanesque style in 12th century. The tower was added in the 15th century and all other buildings from 1780 to 1950. 
Founded: 12th century | Location: Kolding, Denmark

Graeshave Church

Græshave Church was constructed in the Middle Ages of the large bricks known as 'monk stone'. It contains a chapel that was owned by the local noble family Porses. This was converted into a sacristy in 1637. The altarpiece is of the cathechetical variety associated with the post Reformation period.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Dannemare, Denmark

Venø Church

Venø Church"s age is difficult to date but it was probably built around the time of the Reformation (1536), making it the oldest building on the island. According to tradition, it is the smallest church in Denmark measuring only 9.8 by 4.2 meters. The low ceiling and the limited seating capacity (only about 50 places) reinforce this impression. The church is built of fieldstone while brick has been used for th ...
Founded: c. 1536 | Location: Struer, Denmark

Skive Old Church

Vor Frue Kirke (Church of Our Lady) is the old church of Skive, built around 1200. It still have its original nave and choir. The church was enlarged around 1500. In the 1800s it became too small and new church was built next to it in 1898. The old church became however again a parish church in 1930. The murals in church walls date from 1522.
Founded: 1200 | Location: Skive, Denmark

Lysabild Church

Lysabild Church was built around 1100 is one of the oldest in the region. The frescoes and baptismal font made of Gotland limestone are notable. The altarpiece is from the 1780s, chancel arch crucifix from 1450s. There are historic war monuments of 1864-1920 in the churchyard.
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Sønderborg, Denmark

Hasle Church

Hasle Church was built around 1460 and it was restored in 1758. The porch was added in in 1882. The late Gothic altarpiece was made in 1510s and the pulpit around 1600. There is also a Viking age runestone in the churchyard.
Founded: ca. 1460 | Location: Hasle, 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.