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

Wawel Castle

Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Kraków, have provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century. Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight. Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislane tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Miesco I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslas the Brave (992-1025) and Miesco II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.

At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Kraków was established in the year 1000.

During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Kraków was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Kraków along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.

In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill. Around that time, at the initiative of Ladislas the Short, the construction of the third Gothic cathedral began, the castle was expanded and the old wooden and earthen fortifications were replaced by brick ones. The tomb of Ladislas the Short in the cathedral started a royal necropolis of Polish kings in Krakow.The last descendant of the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370) brought Wawel to a state of unprecedented splendour. In 1364 the expanded gothic castle witnessed the marriage of Casimir’s granddaughter Elizabeth to Charles IV accompanied by a famous convention of kings and princes, subsequently entertained by a rich burgher Wierzynek. The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel. The royal court employed local and western European artists and also Rus painters. During the reign of Casimir Jagiellon (1447-1492) the silhouette of the hill was enriched by three high brick towers: the Thieves’ Tower, the Sandomierz Tower and the Senatorial Tower. The first humanists in Poland and tutors to the king’s sons: historian Jan Długosz and an Italian by the name Filippo Buonacorsi (also known as Callimachus) worked there at that time.

The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Sigismund’s patronage also left an indelible impression in the cathedral, where a family chapel was erected, known today as Sigismund’s Chapel - the work of Bartolomeo of Berrecci Florence, and through various foundations, one of which was that of a large bell, called the Sigismund to commemorate the king. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza. Alongside Italian artists, German architects, wood workers, painters and metal smiths worked for the king. The last descendant of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), enriched the castle’s interiors with a magnificent collection of tapestries woven in Brussels. In the “Golden Age” of Polish culture Wawel became one of the main centres of humanism in Europe.

The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style. The relocation of the royal court to Warsaw was the cause of a slow but nevertheless steady deterioration in the castle’s condition. The monarchs visited Kraków only occasionally. Restoration of the castle was undertaken during the reign of John III Sobieski, the Wettins and Stanislas Augustus to counteract neglect.

After Poland had lost its independence in 1795, the troops of partitioning nations, Russia, Prussia and Austria, subsequently occupied Wawel which finally passed into the hands of the Austrians. The new owners converted the castle and some of the secular buildings into a military hospital, and demolished some others, including churches. After the period of the Free City of Kraków (1815-1846) Wawel was once more annexed by Austria and turned into a citadel dominating the city. By the resolution passed by the Seym of Galicia in 1880, the castle was presented as a residence to the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I. The Austrian troops left the hill between 1905-1911. At the turn of the 20th century a thorough restoration of the cathedral was conducted, and shortly afterwards a process of restoration of the royal castle began which lasted several decades.

When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the castle served as an official residence of the Head of State, and as a museum of historic interiors. During the Nazi occupation the castle was the residence of the German governor general, Hans Frank. Polish people managed to remove the most valuable objects, including the tapestries and the “Szczerbiec” coronation sword to Canada, from where they returned as late as 1959-1961. At present, the main curators of Wawel are Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection and the Metropolitan Basilica Board on Wawel Hill.