Medieval churches in Finland

The Church of the Holy Cross

The church of the former Franciscan monastery was built probably between 1515 and 1520. The choir of the two-aisle grey granite church features medieval murals and frescoes. The white steeple of the church was built in 1816 and has served as a landmark for seafarers.
Founded: 1515-1520 | Location: Rauma, 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. 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

Inkoo Church

The oldest parts of grey stone church date back to the 15th century. It was built in three periods: the first part probably in 1430s, second maybe in the later half of 15th century and latest in 1510s. The roof was destroyed by lightning in 1623 and the bell tower was built beside 1739-1740. The Inkoo parish is very old (established in the beginning of 13th century) and it's quite probable there have been wooden churches ...
Founded: 1430-1510 | Location: Inkoo, Finland

Nauvo Church

The Nauvo Church was built probably between years 1430 and 1450 and it's dedicated to St. Olaf. The mural paintings were made in the 17th century. The most significant artefact in church is the crucifix from the beginning of 15th century. The oldest music instrument in Finland, organs called "Nauvon positiivi" (built probably in 1664), was originally in the Nauvo church. today it's preserved to the National Museum of Finl ...
Founded: 1430-1450 | Location: Nauvo, 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

The Church of the Holy Trinity

According some references there has been a wooden church and stone sacristy in Rauma even since the 14th century. It might be true that stones of the sacristy was used as a part of the Holy Trinity Church. It was built in the 15th and 16th centuries to replace earlier wooden church. Anyway, church destroyed in a fire in 1640, and the Church of the Holy Cross has served as the parish church ever since. There are still som ...
Founded: 1495-1505 | Location: Rauma, 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

Raisio Church

The Raisio Church was built between years 1500 and 1520. The church is dedicated St. Martin, a medieval Catholic saint. His picture is also placed in the Raisio city coat of arms. The oldest artefact in church is the triumph crucifix from the 14th century. The wall paintings are mostly from the 17th century.
Founded: 1500-1520 | Location: Raisio, Finland

Geta Church

Geta Church is believed to be built in the 1460s, and was dedicated to St. George. It was used as a chapel until the beginning of the 20th century. The altarpiece was donated in 1685. The Empire-style pulpit is from 1842. The major reconstructions have been done in the 17th century, and in 1842. The belfry was built in the middle of the 17th century, but it has been reconstructed in 1685 and in the 19th century.
Founded: 1460-1540 | Location: Geta, Finland

Sauvo Church

The medieval church of St. Clemens in Sauvo was built to present three-aisle outfit probably in 1460s or 1470s. First record of the Sauvo Church in Turku Cathedral documents dates back to the year 1346, but there have been several wooden churches before even from the beginning of 13th century. Many renovations were made to the church during 17th century, but the interior is very well-preserved. Mural paintings are from th ...
Founded: 1460-1480 | Location: Sauvo, 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

Sastamala Church

The church of Sastamala in Karkku (dedicated to St. Mary) was built in the end of 15th century. In the Middle Ages Karkku was the spiritual and administrative center for the northern Satakunta area. Unfortunately church was nearly abandoned for decades in the 19th and 20th centuries. During this time for example the floor was destroyed. The church was renovated in 1960-1977 and today it's used mainly for summer ceremonies ...
Founded: 1497-1505 | Location: Sastamala, Finland

Parainen Church

The greystone church in Parainen was built in the 15th century (probably in 1440-1460) and is dedicated to St. Simon. The western part of the Agricola-chapel is the eldest component of the church, today a museum. On the churchyard is located the chapel of bishop Tengström, Finland's first archbishop (erected in 1819). The interior of the church is covered with several coat of arms. The rarest one is dedicated to pope ...
Founded: 1440-1460 | Location: Länsi-Turunmaa, Finland

Halikko Church

The oldest record of church in Halikko is dated back to the year 1352. The wooden church was replaced probably approximately 1440. Original, two-aisle church was dedicated to St. Birgit. During the Reformation old chalk paintings were overpainted and church was left to dilapidate. Too small and dicky church was renovated and expanded in 1799 and again in 1813-1815. The old sacristy, weapons room and the tomb of famous nob ...
Founded: 1440 | Location: Salo, Finland

Lemu Church

The mediaeval greystone church is dedicated to St. Olav and was built in the 1450's. Long ago, Lemu was part of the great Nousiainen ancient parish, but parted to an independent administrative and ecclesiastical parish in the Middle Ages. When an episcopal church was erected in the old mother parish, a sanctuary consecrated to St. Olav was built also in Lemu. First, a small wooden chapel was raised on Toijainen hill prob ...
Founded: 1460-1480 | Location: Masku, Finland

Laitila Church

Laitila Church, dedicated to St. Michael, was erected probably in 1460-1483. The mural paintings were made in 1483 by students of famous Petrus Henriksson. There are also a crucifix from the 15th century and pulpit from 17th century.
Founded: 1460-1483 | Location: Laitila, Finland

Tuulos Church

The greystone church of Tuulos was built probably between years 1510-1540, but the oldest part, the sacristy, was built by Sairiala estate owner Knut Posse between 1477-1485. There is a Posse family coat of arms in the northern wall of sacristy. The church may have been sanctified to St. Bridget of Sweden.
Founded: 1510-1540 | Location: Tuulos, Finland

Ulvila Church

The Ulvila Church, dedicated to St. Olaf, is one of the most significant medieval buildings in Finland. The first church was built probably in 13th century to Liikistö, which was a local trade centre. According old documents the graveyard around the church was consecrated in 1347 and church was burnt badly in 1429. Historians believe that the present stone church was built after that between 1495-1510.There are sever ...
Founded: 1495-1510 | Location: Ulvila, Finland

St. Lawrence's Church

Lohja church is the third biggest medieval church in Finland. It dates back to the 15th century, probably between years 1470 and 1490. Impressive chalk paintings inside the church are made in the regime of bishop Arvid Kurki (1510-1522). The Lohja parish was established in 1230s or 1240s and there have been several wooden churches before the present one. Also origins of the bell tower date back to the Middle Ages. The up ...
Founded: 1470-1490 | Location: Lohja, Finland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Castle Rushen

Castle Rushen is located in the Isle of Man"s historic capital, Castletown. The castle is amongst the best examples of medieval castles in the British Isles, and is still in use as a court house, museum and educational centre.

The exact date of castle is unknown, although construction is thought to have taken place during the reigns of the late 12th century and early 13th century rulers of the Isle of Man – the Kings of Mann and the Isles. The original Castle Rushen consisted of a central square stone tower, or keep. The site was also fortified to guard the entrance to the Silver Burn. From its early beginnings, the castle was continually developed by successive rulers of Mann between the 13th and 16th century. The limestone walls dominated much of the surrounding landscape, serving as a point of dominance for the various rulers of the Isle of Man. By 1313, the original keep had been reinforced with towers to the west and south. In the 14th century, an east tower, gatehouses, and curtain wall were added.

After several more changes of hands the English and their supporters eventually prevailed. The English king Edward I Longshanks claimed that the island had belonged to the Kings of England for generations and he was merely reasserting their rightful claim to the Isle of Man.

The 18th century saw the castle in steady decay. By the end of the century it was converted into a prison. Even though the castle was in continuous use as a prison, the decline continued until the turn of the 20th century, when it was restored under the oversight of the Lieutenant Governor, George Somerset, 3rd Baron Raglan. Following the restoration work, and the completion of the purpose-built Victoria Road Prison in 1891, the castle was transferred from the British Crown to the Isle of Man Government in 1929.

Today it is run as a museum by Manx National Heritage, depicting the history of the Kings and Lords of Mann. Most rooms are open to the public during the opening season (March to October), and all open rooms have signs telling their stories. The exhibitions include a working medieval kitchen where authentic period food is prepared on special occasions and re-enactments of various aspects of medieval life are held on a regular basis, with particular emphasis on educating the local children about their history. Archaeological finds made during excavations in the 1980s are displayed and used as learning tools for visitors.