Medieval churches in Denmark

Thorsager Church

Thorsager round church is the only one of its kind in Jutland (and one of Denmark"s seven medieval round churches). It was built of brick around 1200 and is one of Jutland"s oldest brick buildings - perhaps the oldest. Its thick walls (1m) are an indication of the defensive role it played. The church may lie on the site of a pre-Christian sacrificial place for the god Thor. The size of the church and its arch ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Rønde, Denmark

Skørringe Church

The whitewashed Skørringe Church was built of so-called monk stones around 1200. The tower was not added until in 1700s. The church has a beautifully kept churchyard. Inside there is a plaster relief of a famous work by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvalsen.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Maribo, Denmark

Gurreby Church

Gurreby Church was built in c. 1200 in Romanesque style. It has no tower, only ridge turret added later in the Middle Ages. The original altarpiece from 1518 is today in National Museum, Copenhagen. The pulpit dates from the early 1600s.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Søllested, Denmark

Ringsebølle Church

Ringsebølle Church is a small church built in c. 1220. According a legend it was built by Irish monks. The Gothic choir and porch were added later. The church was originally placed on an island, whereby the church´s yard is octagonal shaped. Over the door there is a stone with a motif of a rider who was hunting a pagan and a bear on the run. The altar and pulpit date from 1870.
Founded: c. 1220 | Location: Rødby, Denmark

St. Clemens Church

Rømø church was built around 1200 but extended in the 17th and 18th centuries when the island prospered due to whaling. The church is consecrated to the patron saint of sailors, St. Clemens and many ship models, donated by seamen, are hanging in the church. During the last century, rights to have one"s name on a church pew were sold, the proceeds being used for church expenses, and many of these can be ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Rømø, Denmark

Kippinge Church

Kippinge Church is known for its rich Renaissance furnishings and its frescos from the mid-14th century. By 1338, the villages of Vester- and Østerkippinge had grown up on either side of the parish church, which remained on an isolated site in the countryside. In the Middle Ages, the church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. At the beginning of the 16th century, the Crown had calling rights for the appointment of cl ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Nørre Alslev, 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

Nebbelunde Church

Nebbelunde Church was built around 1200 and it consists of a Romanesque main body, with a Gothic vestry and small tower. The building material were large medieval bricks known as 'monk stones'. The altar was painted in c. 1625. There are pictoresque medieval mural paintings in vaults, made probably by so-called Brarup workshop.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Rodby, Denmark

Skelby Church

Skelby church was built originally around the year 1200 and the tower was added in 1400s. In 1857 the church was in bad shape and the nave and choir were rebuilt of yellow bricks. On the northern side of the nave, the ruling body of Niels Amager set up a chalk stone epitafium. There is an interesting octagonal limestone font from 1175-1200, made in Gotland.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Gedser, Denmark

Jørlunde Church

Jørlunde church is an early medieval church situated in Jørlunde, built by Skjalm Hvide around the year 1085. The church is richly decorated inside with frescos dating back to the middle of the 12th century created by the so called Jørlunde workshop.
Founded: c. 1085 | Location: Slangerup, Denmark

Fjelsø Church

Fjelsø Church oldest parts date from the 1200s, built of granite ashlars. The interior was decorated with paintings in 1895. The pulpit dates from 1736.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Aalestrup, 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

Fjelde Church

Fjelde Church was built in around 1100 and the tower was erected in 1500s. The font dates from c. 1575 and pulpit from 1610. The rare kind of altarpiece doesn"t have a painting at all; there are only citations from Catechism.
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Sakskøbing, Denmark

Mårup Church Ruins

Mårup Church was built around 1250 in the late Romanesque style. It was a simple brick structure typical of Jutland village churches, consisting of nave and choir. A tower existing in the 18th century was demolished and a free-standing bell tower was erected of wood. The church had arched pilasters, some of which can still be seen. On December 6, 1808, HMS Crescent, a British frigate on its way to Gothenburg, Sweden, sa ...
Founded: 1250 | Location: Hjørring, Denmark

Fuglse Church

The medieval church of Fuglse was originally dedicated to St Lawrence but after it was rebuilt in 1595 it was dedicated to the Holy Trinity. After the Reformation it was owned by the Crown until it was transferred to the prefect Henning Ulrich von Lützow in 1689 who gained ownership of nearby Søholt the following year. It later came into the ownership of Raben Huitfeld Levetzau til Kærstrup (1835) and th ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Holeby, Denmark

Godsted Church

The nave and chancel of Godsted Church were built in the 13th century and the porch was added later. The Romanesque font is made of granite and is probably as old as the church. The pulpit dates from c. 1625 and altarpiece from 1825.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Øster-Ulslev, Denmark

Bregninge Church

Bregninge Church was originally a Romanesque church from the 1200s with monumental Gothic arches built in the late 1400s. The impressive steeple of the tower (characteristic of eastern Slesvig) is covered with oak shingles. The frescoes from c. 1510 were uncovered 1915-22 and most recently restored in 1956. Outstanding triptych dates from the early 1500s. It was created by the famous master Claus Berg. The roof dates from ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ærøskøbing, Denmark

Dominican Priory Church

The Dominican Priory (Sortebrødrekloster) was an important Dominican monastery in Viborg during the Middle Ages. Viborg Priory was established around 1227 by Bishop Gunnar of Viborg. It is first mentioned in the church annals in 1246 when donations to the priory are listed. The priory church was completed towards the end of the 13th century in red brick in the Gothic style and consisted of a choir, sacristy, and ce ...
Founded: 1227 | Location: Viborg, Denmark

Dommerby Church

Dommerby Church was built in the Romanesque style around 1200. The red-brick parts were added in 1880. There is a beautiful silver-made chalice from c. 1300. The pulpit was made in 1751 and altarpiece in 1858.
Founded: 1200 | Location: Skive, Denmark

Vrejlev Priory

Vrejlev Priory was founded as a daughter house by canons from Børglum Abbey about 1165. It was small and built out of granite blocks. After a catastrophic fire in 1200 which destroyed the entire premises, it was decided to rebuild. 12 residential cells were built into the new north range for the Premonstratensian nuns who were to live in the rebuilt priory. Another range contained the refectory and cellars, and a t ...
Founded: 1165 | Location: Vrå, Denmark

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Königstein Fortress

Königstein Fortress is located on the left bank of the River Elbe. It is one of the largest hilltop fortifications in Europe. The 9.5 hectare rock plateau rises 240 metres above the Elbe and has over 50 buildings, some over 400 years old, that bear witness to the military and civilian life in the fortress. The rampart run of the fortress is 1,800 metres long with walls up to 42 metres high and steep sandstone faces. In the centre of the site is a 152.5 metre deep well, which is the deepest in Saxony and second deepest well in Europe.

The fortress, which for centuries was used as a state prison, is still intact and is now one of Saxony's foremost tourist attractions, with 700,000 visitors per year.

By far the oldest written record of a castle on the Königstein is found in a deed by King Wenceslas I of Bohemia dating to the year 1233. It is probable that there had been a stone castle on the Königstein as early as the 12th century. The oldest surviving structure today is the castle chapel built at the turn of the 13th century. In the years 1563 to 1569 the 152.5 metre deep well was bored into the rock within the castle - until that point the garrison of the Königstein had to obtain water from cisterns and by collecting rainwater.

Between 1589 and 1591/97 Prince-Elector Christian I of Saxony and his successor had the castle developed into the strongest fortification in Saxony. The hill was now surrounded with high walls. Buildings were erected, including the Gatehouse (Torhaus), the Streichwehr, the Old Barracks (Alte Kaserne), the Christiansburg (Friedrichsburg) and the Old Armoury (Altes Zeughaus). The second construction period followed from 1619 to 1681, during which the John George Bastion was built. The third construction period is seen as the time from 1694 to 1756, which included the expansion of the Old Barracks. From 1722 to 1725, at the behest of August the Strong, coopers under Böttger built the enormous Königstein Wine Barrel, the greatest wine barrel in the world, in the cellar of the Magdalenenburg which had a capacity of 249,838 litres. It cost 8,230 thalers, 18 groschen and 9 pfennigs. The butt, which was once completely filled with country wine from the Meißen vineyards, had to be removed again in 1818 due to its poor condition. Because of Böttger, Königstein Fortress is also the site where European porcelain started.

Even after the expansion during those periods of time there continued to be modifications and additions on the extensive plateau. The Treasury (Schatzhaus) was built from 1854 to 1855. After the fortress had been incorporated in 1871 into the fortification system of the new German Empire, battery ramparts were constructed from 1870 to 1895 with eight firing points, that were to have provided all-round defence for the fortress in case of an attack that, in the event, never came. This was at this time that the last major building work was done on the fortress.

Because Königstein Fortress was regarded as unconquerable, the Saxon monarchs retreated to it from Wittenberg and later Dresden during times of crisis and also deposited the state treasure and many works of art from the famous Zwinger here; it was also used as a country retreat due to its lovely surroundings.

The fortress played an important role in the History of Saxony, albeit less as a result of military action. The Saxon Dukes and Prince-Electors used the fortress primarily as a secure refuge during times of war, as a hunting lodge and maison de plaisance, but also as a dreaded state prison. Its actual military significance was rather marginal.

Since 1955 the fortress has been an open-air, military history museum of high touristic value.