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

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.