Medieval churches in Denmark

St. Paul's Church

The Church of St. Paul (Sankt Povls Kirke) was built around 1200. Anyway the first mention of the church date from 1335. It was enlarged in 1871 and the porch was restored in 1881. The medieval stone font was made in Gotland. There are also some fine frescoes.
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Neksø, Denmark

Tvilum Abbey Church

Tvilum Priory, the latest of the Augustinian monasteries in Denmark, was founded between 1246 and 1249 by Bishop Gunner of Ribe, who had hoped to establish the Augustinians in the cathedral chapter at Ribe, but in vain. After he resigned his bishopric in 1246, he donated all his worldly goods to the monastery at Tvilum, while he himself became aFranciscan friar. The Bishop of Aarhus at about the same time gifted the incom ...
Founded: 1246-1249 | Location: Fårvang, Denmark

Asmild Abbey Church

The relatively large church, which predated the nunnery, was built about 1090 as a parish church dedicated to Saint Margaret of Antioch during the reign of King Olaf I of Denmark. It functioned as the cathedral of Viborg until the new cathedral at Viborg was finished in 1133. It was constructed of granite and limestone in the Romanesque style with rounded arches and few windows. The church was of an irregular shape with a ...
Founded: c. 1090 | Location: Viborg, Denmark

Nørre Alslev Church

Nørre Alslev Church dates from at least 1308, a date found on its early frescos. Built in the Early Gothic style and painted pink according to local tradition, it is best known for its fresco of the death dance. In the Middle Ages, the church was dedicated to St Nicholas. The Early Gothic chancel and nave are built of brick on a 60 cm high sloping foundation. The chancel, with a three-sided end, has a stepped friez ...
Founded: c. 1308 | Location: Nørre Alslev, Denmark

Branderslev Church

Branderslev Church was built in Romanesque style of red (now white washed) bricks around the year 1200. The present wooden bell tower was built in 1744. Altarpiece is of early baroque style from around 1650. On the western side of the nave, there is a special corner from the old days, where pregnant un-married young girls were put on parade.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Nakskov, Denmark

Herredskirke Church

The Herredskirke church was built between 1200-1250. Above the rood arch hangs a rare and characteristic woodcut representing God the Father on the throne holding the crucified Saviour between his knees.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Nakskov, Denmark

Horslunde Church

Horslunde Church was built in the 12th century and dedicated to St. Hans. Through the years it has undergone several large alterations. The altarpiece and the pulpit date from 1594. Former Danish prime minister, Christian Ditlev Frederik Reventlow is buried at the site.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Horslunde, Denmark

Krønge Church

The small Krønge Church was made of red bricks around the year 1100. It was formerly the property of Søholt Castle. The church consists of choir, nave and porch, but the church has no tower. The altar was made in 1643 and Renaissance pulpit in early 1600s. The church contains an epitaph dated 1706, which is written in German.
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Maribo, Denmark

Øster Ulslev Church

Øster Ulslev Church was built around 1225 and the tower was added in 1693. The font dates also from c. 1225 and pulpit from 1625. The altarpiece was painted in 1853.
Founded: c. 1225 | Location: Øster-Ulslev, Denmark

Stokkemarke Church

Stokkemarke Church dates from the mid-1200s. It was built in the Romanesque style with later additions in the Gothic period. The church was dedicated to St. Clement in 1396 although it was later associated with St. George, probably as a result of a panel from St Jørgens Hospital in Bregerup which hung in the church until 1878. A reliquary found in the high altar was a gift from Bishop Gisike of Odense (1286–1 ...
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Stokkemarke, Denmark

Vestenskov Church

Vestenskov Church was built of red bricks originally between 1250 and 1300. It was enlarged in the 1400s and the church size was was nearly doubled. There is an external wooden bell tower. The Renaissance altar dates from 1590s, but it was restored in 1650. The pulpit was carved in 1627.
Founded: 1250-1300 | Location: Nakskov, Denmark

Vester Ulslev Church

Vester Ulslev Church was built in the late 13th century. The late-Gothic tower was erected later in the Middle Ages. The Romanesque font is probably made in Gotland. One of church bells date from 16th century, other from 1860. The altarpiece was painted around 1616 and is very similar to near Fuglse Church altar. The pulpit dates from c. 1610.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Øster-Ulslev, Denmark

Karleby Church

Karleby Church was built in c. 1130. It was restored in 1863.
Founded: c. 1130 | Location: Nykøbing Falster, 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

Sindal Old Church

Sindal Old Church dates from the 13th century with choir, nave and porch, beautifully situated with the old cemetery and a newly forested churchyard. It has not been altered substantially since its foundation, and has no tower. A bellframe holds two bells, the oldest of which was cast in the sixteenth century. The altarpiece is a fine piece of Renaissance work and holds a picture by distinguished Skagen artist Michael Anc ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Sindal, 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

Reerslev Church

The oldest parts of the Reerslev Church, nave and the chancel, date back to the 12th century and are in the Romanesque style. In the 15th century, a chapel, a vestry and an extension of the nave to the west were added in the late-Gothic style. Cross vaults were also added during this period. The cross vaults were decorated by the Isefjord school around 1450. After the Reformation, they were covered with limewash for cent ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Hedehusene, 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

Ejby Church

The Romanesque nave of Ejby Church dates from c. 1150–1200. It was extended to the east in the Gothic period, and tower, vestry and porch wered added around 1500. The baptismal font dates from c. 1300. It was created in Gothland limestone and decorated with engraved figures of apostles and saints. The canopy type altarpiece was painted in 1596 with catechism tablets.The pulpit in auricular style dates from 1625.
Founded: 1150–1200 | Location: Lille Skensved, Sweden

Uggeløse Church

Uggeløse Church was built originaly around 1150 and reconstructed in 1330s. The original altar (1597) and pulpit (1629) disappeared in the restoration made in 1841, but the original medieval font still exists.
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Lynge, Denmark

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.