Medieval churches in Denmark

Østofte Church

Østofte Church was built in the 14th century. The Romanesque apse, chancel and nave formed the original building while the tower and porch were added in the Late-Gothic period and the north wing was completed in 1656. The church was dedicated to St Peter, probably in 1345. King Christopher of Bavaria transferred ownership to Maribo Abbey as first documented in 1451. That ownership remained after the Reformation wh ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Nørreballe, Denmark

Jyllinge Old Church

The old church of Jyllinge was built around 1100 and it belonged to Eskilsø Abbey. There is a war memorial and paving stones in the church yard.
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Jyllinge, Denmark

Hover Church

Completed in the first half of the twelfth century, Hover Church is one of the oldest churches in Denmark. In 1771, the church"s west gable was damaged by a storm. A heavy buttress now supports one wall. The porch was built in the 1500s in late Gothic style on the south side of the church, where the men"s entrance once was. The women"s entrance was on the north side of the church. The frescoes are dated to ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Spjald, Denmark

Majbølle Church

Majbølle Church was constructed around 1270. The tower and large chapel which were added around 1470. There has been a holy well in Majbølle churchyard (no longer existing), which considerably attracted more pilgrimages. The holy well was dedicated to Saint Anne (the Virgin Mary"s mother). The church was originally called St. Anne"s church. An object of interest is the stock of the church tower fro ...
Founded: c. 1270 | Location: Guldborg, Denmark

Våbensted Church

Våbensted Church was built in the 13th century and the tower was erected in 1674. The southern chapel is from the Baroque period. The altarpiece dates from about 1620 and is painted by August Jerndorff.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sakskøbing, Denmark

Halsted Church

Halsted Church dates from the second half of the 12th century, the church has a Romanesque chancel and nave, a large burial chapel from 1636 and a tower from 1877. The church was closely associated with Halsted Priory, which has not survived. The granite church is first mentioned in 1177. It is therefore older than Halsted Kloster, the Benedictine priory with which it was associated from the 13th century until 1536. The ...
Founded: ca. 1100 | Location: Nakskov, Denmark

Hillested Church

Hillested Church dates from the c. 1200. It is a Romanesque village church, built of large stones with clearly extensions. The altar dates from 1588 with a later reredos. Pulpit dates from the Renaissance period.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Maribo, Denmark

Børglum Abbey

Børglum Abbey was originally a royal farm which dated back as far as 1000, if not earlier. In 1086 King Canute IV fled from his residence at Børglum when the peasants revolted against him. The royal residence was burned to the ground but rebuilt sometime later. At some point between 1134 and 1139, the royal estate at Børglum was granted to the church to become the new seat of the bishopric of norther ...
Founded: c. 1134 | Location: Vrå, Denmark

St. Jørgensbjerg Church

St. Jørgensbjerg church is the oldest preserved stone building in Denmark. Built of travertine circa 1100, it may have been inspired by the Roskilde's cathedral predecessor, a travertine church from 1080, built by Bishop Svend Nordmand. The bricked-up north door of the church may also stem from its predecessor from circa 1040, which was investigated in excavations undertaken in 1953-54. If it does, the north door i ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Roskilde, Denmark

Selsø Church

Selsø Church was originally a small round church built in c. 1150. The two bells were probably casted in 1300 and 1467. The church has some wonderful mural paintings.
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Skibby, 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

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

Musse Church

There may has been a church on the site of current Musse church since 11th century and it is one of the oldest Christian sites on the Lolland island. The current church was built around 1200 and since Reformation it has been a chapel of Døllefjelde church. The altar dates from c. 1585 and pulpit from 1625.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Nysted, Denmark

Balling Church

Balling church was built of stone in Romanesque style around 1200. The tower was added in the late Middle Ages, but today only the lower part of it exists. The chapel and porch were added in 1500s. The current tower was erected in 1945. The altar table dates from 1580s and the painting from c. 1600. The pulpit was built around 1800.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Spøttrup, 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

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

Vitskøl Abbey

Vitskøl Abbey (Vitskøl Kloster, Vitae Schola, meaning 'school of life') is a former Cistercian monastery and one of the oldest existing monastic complexes in northern Europe. Vitskøl Abbey was founded by Cistercian monks under Abbot Henrik while in exile from Varnhem Abbey in Sweden during a conflict with Queen Christina Björnsdotter of Sweden. The monks from Varnhem were later replaced ...
Founded: 1158 | Location: Ranum, Denmark

Herritslev Church

Herritslev church was built around 1220 under the rule of Valdemar II of Denmark. The tower and vaults were added 150-200 years later in Gothic style. The pulpit, made in Dutch Renaissance style, dates from 1610. There are some frescoes in the vaults from the 13th century. In the cemetery on churchyard is a notable medieval stone wall.
Founded: c. 1220 | Location: Nysted, Denmark

Tågerup Church

Tågerup Church is a Romanesque parish church dating from the beginning of the 13th century. Its nave is richly decorated with early 16th-century frescos painted by the Brarup workshop. The church was originally dedicated to Our Lady as documented in a letter of indulgence from 1470. An altar dedicated to the Virgin Mary attracted large numbers of pilgrims on the Feast of the Annunciation until 1636. Little is known ...
Founded: 1220 | Location: Rødby, Denmark

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Goseck Circle

The Goseck circle is a Neolithic circle structure. It may be the oldest and best known of the Circular Enclosures associated with the Central European Neolithic. It also may be one of the oldest Solar observatories in the world. It consists of a set of concentric ditches 75 metres across and two palisade rings containing gates in places aligned with sunrise and sunset on the solstice days.

Its construction is dated to c. 4900 BC, and it seems to have remained in use until 4600 BC. This corresponds to the transitional phase between the Neolithic Linear Pottery and Stroke-ornamented ware cultures. It is one of a larger group of so-called Circular Enclosures in the Elbe and Danube region, most of which show similar alignments.

Excavators also found the remains of what may have been ritual fires, animal and human bones, and a headless skeleton near the southeastern gate, that could be interpreted as traces of human sacrifice or specific burial ritual. There is no sign of fire or of other destruction, so why the site was abandoned is unknown. Later villagers built a defensive moat following the ditches of the old enclosure.

The Goseck ring is one of the best preserved and extensively investigated of the many similar structures built at around the same time. Traces of the original configuration reveal that the Goseck ring consisted of four concentric circles, a mound, a ditch, and two wooden palisades. The palisades had three sets of gates facing southeast, southwest, and north. At the winter solstice, observers at the center would have seen the sun rise and set through the southeast and southwest gates.

Archaeologists generally agree that Goseck circle was used for observation of the course of the Sun in the course of the solar year. Together with calendar calculations, it allowed coordinating an easily judged lunar calendar with the more demanding measurements of a solar calendar.