Medieval churches in Denmark

Kettinge Church

Kettinge Church was built between 1200 and 1250 and enlarged strongly in the early 1300s. Vaults were also added then and decorated by so-called Elmelunde Master or his students. The font is the oldest item in the church. Also one bell (1401) and crucifix date from the Catholic Age. The altar and pulpit were carved in 1612.
Founded: 1200-1250 | Location: Kettinge, 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

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

Avnede Church

Avnede Church was originally a wooden structure, probably one of the first to be built on Lolland in the early 11th century. It was located near a spring known in pre-Christian times and later Christianized as St Lawrence"s spring. It was well known for the powerful effects of its waters. The church itself was also originally dedicated to St Lawrence. Today"s stone building dates from the end of the 14th century ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Nakskov, Denmark

Hunseby Church

Hunseby Church was built in the mid-1100s with a Romanesque chancel and nave and a Gothic tower. The church was originally dedicated to St. Andrew as can be seen from the inscription on the oldest bell from 1465. From Romanesque inscriptions in the stonework supporting an old portal, it appears the church must have existed in the middle of the 12th century. Little is known of its early ownership apart from the fact that t ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Maribo, Denmark

Adsbøl Church

Adsbøl Church dates from the 13th century and consists of Romanesque choir and nave with Gothic features. It was damaged during the war or 1658-1659 with Sweden, but was restored. In the late 18th century it was remodelled again. In the cemetery is a memorial of World War I victims.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sønderborg, Denmark

Toreby Church

Toreby Church was built around 1200 and it is an unusually large red-brick Romanesque building, the nave and chancel having been extended in the Gothic period with a sacristy and lateral aisle. The tower was constructed in late Gothic times, shortly after the church was built. The sacristy to the north of the chancel was built at the beginning of the 14th century. The aisles were added in the Gothic period, first the one ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Toreby, Denmark

Halk Church

Halk church is a whitewashed church with a lead covered roof, which consists of a Romanesque choir and nave. Later, an expansion towards the west was added, as well as a sacristy, weaponhouse, chapel and an east facing tower, which is rarely seen. The alter tablet is a beautiful combination of parts from a late-gothic alter tablet, which has been inserted into a late-renaissance frame from around 1640. The church has ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Haderslev, Denmark

Skibet Church

The Romanesque style Skibet church was built between 1125 and 1150 and belonged to Haraldskær Manor until 1936. The Romanesque nave and chancel are survived. There is a granite Romanesque font and some very beautiful frescos from the eleventh century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Vejle, Denmark

Ullerup Church

Ullerup church was built around 1200 in Romanesque style and has mainly survived. The tower was added in 1902. The Baroque style altarpiece was made 1707 by Anthon Günther Fres from Elsass (Alsace). The Renaissance style pulpit is made of oak in 1578. The baptismal font, made of Gotland limestone, dates from c. 1400.  
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Sønderborg, Denmark

Vinding Church

The nave and choir of Vinding church were built around 1150 and the tower was erected later. The altarpiece and pulpit dates from the late 18th century.
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Vejle, 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Trinity Sergius Lavra

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.

Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.

In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.

The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.

In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by  Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.

After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.

In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.

Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.

In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.

In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.