Medieval churches in Denmark

Lillebraende Church

Lillebrænde Church has a Romanesque chancel and the nave has been constructed of red monk bricks in th 14th century. It has never been whitewashed. There has been lacerated on the chancel window, which has been covered behind the altarpiece since 1944. The altarpiece has now been removed and today the mural paintings function as altar pictures. Late Gothic chancel arch crucifix date from 1450.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Stubbekøbing, Denmark

Slemminge Church

Slemminge Church was built in the 12th century. The unusually big tower was built in the late Middle Ages in Gothic style. The spire was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1901. The frescoes in choir vaults were made between 1475-1500. The altarpiece dates from c. 1585 and pulpit from 1610.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Sakskøbing, Denmark

Løgum Abbey Church

Løgum Abbey was founded in 1173 by Bishop Stefan of Ribe who had previously been at Herrevad Abbey in Skåne, the first Cistercian foundation in Denmark. Løgum was in a sense a daughter house to Herrevad. The abbey was called 'Locus Dei' in Latin, meaning 'God"s place' and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The new wooden monastery was destroyed by a fire in 1190. Bishop Omer of Rib ...
Founded: 1173 | Location: Løgumkloster, 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

Maglebraende Church

The whitewashed church in Maglebrænde was built of monk bricks (large medieval bricks) with a Romanesque choir around 1400. There is no tower, but a little spire on the roof. The church has a few murals from 1300s and 1500s with religious motifs.
Founded: c. 1400 | Location: Stubbekøbing, Denmark

Radsted Church

The oldest part of Radsted Church was built around 1200 in Late Romanesque style. the chancel was demolished in the early 1300s and rebuilt in Gothic style. The tower was originally erected in c. 1400 and restored in 1621. Radsted Church was enlarged in the 1600s and restored 1868-1870. The Renaissance altar and pulpit date from 1610. The font is made in Gotland and dates from the 1300s.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Sakskobing, Denmark

Falkerslev Church

Falkerslev Church was built around the year 1300. The altar dates from 1766 and the altarpiece was painted by Aug. Thomsen in 1845.
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Horbelev, Denmark

Astrup Church

Astrup church was constructed of granite and bricks between 1200-1250. The tower was mentioned in 1639 but today it doesn"t exist anymore. There is a grave of Bøgsted family members in the east side. In 1908 some rune carvings were founded from the wall.
Founded: 1200-1250 | Location: Hjørring, 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

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

Vindeby Church

The nave and choir of Vindeby Church were built in c. 1300 and it was dedicated to St. Andreas. The tower was erected around 1505. Gothic vaults were decorated with mural paintings around 1400 and they were restored in the 20th century. the altar was made in Netherlands around 1550 and pulpit dates from 1602.
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Horslunde, Denmark

Vestervig Abbey Church

Vestervig Abbey was established in about 1059 making it one of Denmark"s most ancient religious houses. About 1030 Saint Thøger settled at Vestervig and built the first wattle and clay church in Thy. Thøger was a Thuringian missionary who had been living in England when Olaf II went there on a Viking expedition. Thøger"s wonderful sermons brought an invitation to return to Norway with Olav a ...
Founded: 1059 | Location: Vestervig, 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

Bursø Church

Bursø Church was built in the 12th century. It doesn’t have much decoration, but there is a fresco in the chorus. The altarpiece dates from 1689. It was a gift from prefect H.U. von Lutzow and his wife E.C. von Schager. Their coat of arms is displayed on it. The church has no tower.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Maribo, Denmark

Sebber Priory

Sebber Priory was established between 1250 and 1268 as a house for Benedictine nuns. The priory was dedicated to St. Lawrence. Its founding details are uncertain; it may have begun as an Augustinian house. One question about Sebber Priory has always been why it was located on the coast in such an isolated location. It appears that Sebber was already a village in Viking times, a trading place for ships plying the Limfjord ...
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Nibe, Denmark

Sandby Church

Sandby Church dates from the middle of the 13th century and it has a Romanesque chancel and nave and a Late Gothic tower. Little is known of the church"s early history other than the Crown had clerical appointment rights before the Reformation. It remained under the Crown until 1679 when it was transferred to the episcopal authority of Funen. In 1726, it passed into the ownership of the Danneskiold-Samsøe til ...
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Harpelunde, Denmark

Utterslev Church

Utterslev Church was built in the 13th century. It has a half-circled apse, tower and vestry decorated with beautiful blinds. The pulpit and altarpiece date from the seventeenth century. The centre of the altarpiece houses a painting by the renowned Danish church artist Dorph in the 19th century.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Horslunde, 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

Gloslunde Church

Gloslunde Church was built in the 13th century. Built of red brick but now whitewashed, the church consists of a Romanesque chancel and nave and a Gothic porch and sacristy. A 14th-century timber bell tower stands close to the church"s northwest corner. There are two small Romanesque windows on the chancel gable, now both bricked up. The east gable is also decorated with a round-arch frieze. The original flat wooden ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Dannemare, Denmark

Aggersborg Church

The Vikings had a stronghold at Aggersborg surrounded by an enormous rampart. Towering to the north of the rampart there is a church of Aggersborg, probably erected during the 12th century. An interesting illuminated inscription of runes can be seen on the walls of the nave and the northern chancel wall. The altarpiece dates back to 1598, but it wasn"t placed in Aggersborg until 1934. The previous altarpiece can be s ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Logstor, Denmark

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Bergenhus Fortress

Bergenhus fortress is one of the oldest and best preserved castles in Norway. It contains buildings dating as far back as the 1240s, as well as later constructions built as recently as World War II. The extent of the enclosed area of today dates from the early 19th century. In medieval times, the area of the present-day Bergenhus Fortress was known as Holmen (The islet), and contained the royal residence in Bergen, as well as a cathedral and several churches, the bishop's residence, and a Dominican monastery. Excavations have revealed foundations of buildings believed to date back to before 1100, which might have been erected by King Olav Kyrre. In the 13th century, until 1299, Bergen was the capital of Norway and Holmen was thus the main seat of Norway's rulers. It was first enclosed by stone walls in the 1240s.

Of the medieval buildings, a medieval hall and a defensive tower remain. The royal hall, today known as Haakon's Hall, built around 1260, is the largest medieval secular building in Norway. The defensive tower, known in the Middle Ages as the keep by the sea, was built around 1270 by King Magnus VI Lagabøte, and contained a royal apartment on the top floor. In the 1560s it was incorporated by the commander of the castle, Erik Rosenkrantz, into a larger structure, which is today known as the Rosenkrantz Tower.

In the Middle Ages, several churches, including the Christ Church, Bergen's cathedral, were situated on the premises. These however were torn down in the period 1526 to 1531, as the area of Holmen was converted into a purely military fortification under Danish rule. From around this time, the name Bergenhus came into use. Building work on the Christ Church probably started around 1100. It contained the shrine of saint Sunniva, the patron saint of Bergen and western Norway. In the 12th and 13th centuries it was the site of several royal coronations and weddings. It was also the burial site of at least six kings, as well as other members of the royal family. The site of its altar is today marked by a memorial stone.

In the 19th century, the fortress lost its function as a defensive fortification, but it was retained by the military as an administrative base. After restoration in the 1890s, and again after destruction sustained during World War II, Bergenhus is today again used as a feast hall for public events. During World War II, the German navy used several of its buildings for their headquarters, and they also constructed a large concrete bunker within the fortress walls. The buildings, including the Haakon's Hall, were severely damaged when a Dutch ship in the service of the German navy, carrying approximately 120 tons of dynamite, exploded on 20 April 1944 in the harbour just outside the fortress walls, but the buildings were later restored.

Bergenhus is currently under the command of the Royal Norwegian Navy, which has about 150 military personnel stationed there. The fortifications Sverresborg fortress and Fredriksberg fortress also lie in the centre of Bergen. Haakon's Hall and the Rosenkrantz Tower are open for visits by the public. Koengen, the central part of Bergenhus Fortress is also known as a concert venue.