Medieval churches in Finland

St. Catherine's Church

The Church of St. Catherine in Nummi suburb represents the medieval church building tradition. The construction began in the 1340s, the sacristy was completed first and the church later. Bishop Hemming and Bishop Thomas of Växjö consecrated the church on 22 January 1351.Finnish National Board of Antiquities has named the church site as a national built heritage.
Founded: 1351 | Location: Turku, Finland

The Church of St. Michael

Pernaja medieval stone church was built between years 1410 and 1440 to the place of previous wooden church. The interior was completed during centuries: there are for example a christening pool from the 1300s, a crusifix from 1400s and pulpit from the 17th century. Beautiful chalk paintings in walls are dated back to 1440s.
Founded: 1410-1440 | Location: Pernaja, Finland

The Church of St. Michael

The old church of Pälkäne dates back to the beginning of 16th century. During reformation it was modified to meet the requirements of new religious policies. For example wooden statues of Catholic saints were removed. Church was robbed by the Russian troops during the Greater Wrath in 1714-1721. Church started to dilapidate during the 1740s and it was finally abandoned when new church was completed in 1839. The roof co ...
Founded: 1495-1505 | Location: Pälkäne, Finland

St. Katherine's Church

The Karjaa church is a typical medieval stone church in Southern Finland. Building time has been dated to the last half of the 15th century, probably 1465-1470. The bell tower was built in 1768. There are some wooden statues, coat of arms and chalk paintings visible inside the church.
Founded: 1465-1470 | Location: Raasepori, Finland

The Church of St. Mary

The Pohja Church was built between years 1475-1480 to replace a previous wooden church which was destroyed by fire. There are 12 medieval statues, 11 coat of arms and some chalk paintings inside the church.
Founded: 1475-1480 | Location: Raasepori, Finland

St. Henry's Church

The first evidence of Pyhtää as an independent parish dates back to 1380. At that time already the parish had a church, but it is not known where it was situated or what it looked like. Until 1600 Pyhtää included, besides its present area, also half of the present city of Kotka, Ruotsinpyhtää, Elimäki, the western parts of Anjalankoski, and a part of Lapinjärvi.Dedicated to St. Henr ...
Founded: 1460 | Location: Pyhtää, Finland

The Church of St. Mary

There are only ruins remaining of the medieval church in Mustasaari, Vaasa. It was built probably between 1500-1520.
Founded: 1500-1520 | Location: Vaasa, Finland

Rymättylä Church

The greystone church of St. Jacob, built in 1510s, is one of the most attractive churches in Finland. The medieval interior is very well-preserved, including wall paintings and several artefacts. The oldest item, a beautiful wooden statue with original colours from the 1350's is known as the smiling James of Rymättylä. Finnish National Board of Antiques has named the church site as national built heritage.
Founded: 1510 | Location: Naantali, Finland

The Church of St. John

The grey stone church of Hauho was built probably at the beginning of 16th century. The present sacristy made of bricks replaced the old medieval one 1783-1784. The bell tower was built in 1811. The church bells were moved over to the new church in 1885. There are several medieval wooden statues in the church, for example St. Peter and St. Anna.
Founded: 1500-1520 | Location: Hauho, Finland

The Old Church of Isokyrö

One of the major sights in Isokyrö area is the massive grey stone church, which was built probably between 1513-1533. Dedicated to St. Laurence, this church has been the spiritual centre of the greater Pohjankyrö area.
Founded: 1513-1533 | Location: Storkyro, Finland

The Church of St. Peter

The Siuntio Church was built probably between 1460-1489 and it's dedicated to St. Peter. The roof paintings representing stories of Bible were made in the early 16th century by German or Baltic artists. The church is damaged by fire four times, but paintings are fortunately survived.
Founded: 1460-1489 | Location: Siuntio, Finland

Taivassalo Church

Taivassalo Church is the oldest of the three medieval stone churches in Finland that are dedicated to the Holy Cross. The construction of the church is believed to have begun between the years 1425 to 1440. In 1460s, the third aisle was built and the inner walls were decorated with new murals. It was the first time in Finland that frescos were painted to nearly all important surfaces of a church by a group of professi ...
Founded: 1425-1440 | Location: Taivassalo, Finland

Kaarlela Church

Kaarlela church was built around years 1500-1530. It was modified to the present cross shape during the 18th century by local vicar Anders Chydenius. One of the oldest pulpits in Finland is placed inside the church. It was brought from Sweden by vicar Jacob Skepperus in 1622.
Founded: 1500-1530 | Location: Kokkola, Finland

Kirkkonummi Church

The medieval Kirkkonummi brick church was built in the 15th century. The local parish was established in 1240 and there have been several wooden churches at the same site before. The present church has been renovated and modified several times. In 1570s Russian soldiers damaged church and it was burnt by lightning. Next renovations were made in 1637 and again in the 19th century.
Founded: 1400-1490 | Location: Kirkkonummi, Finland

Alatornio Church

The first church in the island was made of wood and it's said to have existed already in 1316. It has been one of the northest churches in Scandinavia in medieval time. The stone church was built 1500-1513. Today only the eastern nave is still existing. Church was modified to the present shape during 1794-97 by architect Jacob Rijf.
Founded: 1500-1513 | Location: Tornio, Finland

St Mary's Church

The St. Mary's Church is a medieval stone church located in Maaria. There are no records as to when the present church was built, but the work was probably started in the mid or late 15th century. According to Markus Hiekkanen, the church was probably built in the 1440s. On the basis of the style of the closets, the gables were constructed about 50 years later. There are medieval limestone paintings on the walls, which a ...
Founded: 1440 | Location: Turku, Finland

Mynämäki Church

The Church of St. Lawrence in Mynämäki is the second biggest medieval church in Finland. The sacristy, oldest part of the church, is dated back to the 13th century. The church itself was quite probably erected in the beginning of 15th century to replace the previous wooden church. It was expanded in 1600s and again in 1770s. There are couple of old artefacts inside the church, for example wooden epitah from year ...
Founded: 1425-1440 | Location: Mynämäki, Finland

The Church of St. Mary

The stone church of Hollola was built between 1495-1510 during the third wave of Finnish grey stone churches. Church is one of the biggest medieval churches in Finland and important medieval landmark in Päijät-Häme area. According to Reformation policies, the interior was remodeled in the 17th century. Archeologists have found remains of the Iron Age settlement around the church. Area has been some kind of administrat ...
Founded: 1495-1510 | Location: Hollola, Finland

St. Peter's church

The Lieto Church was built probably in the end of 15th century. The earliest record of Lieto parish dates back to the year 1331, when local vicar Pietari (Peter) was a witness in tax trial between Turku bishop and Häme (Tavastia) people. The stone church represents simple Finnish church architecture. The belfry was added in 1766 and the Neo-Gothic styled apse in 1902.
Founded: 1470-1500 | Location: Lieto, Finland

Perniö Church

The Perniö Church was built in the 15th century, probably in 1460-1480. It's dedicated to St. Lawrence (as well as many medieval churches in Finland). The interior contains mural paintings made by the school of famous artist Petrus Henriksson from the end of 15th century. There are also seven limestone tombs inside the church. The belfry was erected in 1746.National Board of Antiquities has named the church site as n ...
Founded: 1460-1480 | Location: Perniö, Finland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Externsteine Stones

The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.

In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.

The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.

The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.