Medieval churches in 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

The Church of the Holy Cross

Hattula Church is one of the oldest brick buildings in Finland. It was built in the 15th century and dedicated to the Holy Cross. Wall paintings are from the 16th century. The porch in front of the hall was built in the 16th century of grey stone and bell tower in 1813. Unique for having been built almost entirely of brick rather than stone, the church was a popular pilgrimage destination during the Middle Ages. A grey s ...
Founded: 1440-1490 | Location: Hattula, Finland

Vanaja Church

The Church of Vanaja is one of the smallest medieval churches in Finland. It was built probably between 1490-1510. Vanaja is one of the oldest parishes in Häme and it's quite probable there have been couple of wooden churches before the present one. There are many beautiful details and decorations inside the church, for example an exterior pulpit in stone wall and arm paintings of two noble families.
Founded: 1490-1510 | Location: Hämeenlinna, Finland

The Church of St. Olaf

The Church of St. Olaf was built in around 1260-1280s, but the oldest parts may date back to the previous century. The wall paintings decorating the interior is from the 1280s. The present appearance of the church dates from the extensions in the 19th century. Jomala Church is the oldest remaining church in Finland.
Founded: 1260-1290 | Location: Jomala, Finland

Pertteli Church

The Pertteli Church was built probably between years 1500 and 1520 and was dedicated to St. Bartholomeus. First record of the local Uskela parish is from the 14th century and there has been at least one wooden church in Pertteli before. The original stone church was enlarged in the 18th and 19th centuries. Finnish National Board of Antiquities has named the ancient road ("Hiidentie") and the church area as national built ...
Founded: 1500-1520 | Location: Salo, Finland

St Olaf's Church

The St. Olaf's Church in Tyrvää is a late medieval stone church built probably in 1510-1516.Archeologists have found evidences that the church site has been a spiritual place even in 1000 BC. The settlement has concentrated to the Vanhankirkonnimemi area during the end of Iron Age. There may have been two wooden churches before the present one built in the 14th century. The St. Olaf's Church was probably extende ...
Founded: 1510-1516 | Location: Sastamala, Finland

The Church of St. James

The church of Renko was built in the end of 15th century or at the beginning of 16th century. It was consecrated to St. Jacob as well as the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Spain. This is why Renko church was a popular pilgrimage destination before Reformation. Church has an octagonal exterior, which is quite unique in Finnish post-medieval architecture (it's the only one existing octagonal church in Finland).
Founded: 1495-1505 | Location: Renko, Finland

The Church of St. Birgit

The first stone church in Vihti was built in the end of Middle Ages, probably between years 1500-1520. Unfortunately it was located to a very soft ground and structures started to fall apart in the 17th century. Until 1801 humidity was damaged church so much that local municipality of Vihti decided to sell the church. Woods and stones were ripped off and used as part of local barns. The church was finally destroyed in st ...
Founded: 1500-1520 | Location: Vihti, 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

Närpiö Church

The church of Närpes was originally built around 1550-1555, but it has been expanded several times during the 17th and 18th centuries. The church itself, surrounding magazines and stables creates an unique historical milieu in Finland.
Founded: 1550-1555 | Location: Närpiö, 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 Pedersöre

The Pedersöre (Pietarsaari) church is one of the oldest in Ostrobothnia. There have been wooden churches from the 13th century and the present stone church was built 1510-1520. The church was modified to cross shape in 1787-1795 by famous church builder Jakob Rijf. Pedersöre Church was damaged badly by fire in 1986. It was supposed to be an arson, but any suspects were never found.
Founded: 1510-1520 | Location: Pietarsaari, 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

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

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

The Church of St. Michael

The Church of St. Michael is supposed to be built in the end of the 13th century, but another theories suggest sometime between the beginning of the 12th century or in the end of the 15th century. The church replaced an earlier wooden church from around the 1000s. The church has one of the best preserved medieval interior in Finland. There are many medieval wooden sculptures decorating the interior, and the wall pain ...
Founded: 1445-1455 | Location: Finström, Finland

The Church of St. Michael

The eastern part of Tammela Church was build c. 1530-1550 (narrow part in the foreground), western part and the tower in 1780s (completed in 1785). Today the church is well preserved and historically remarkable sample of the post-medieval architecture. The hall is the second longest (54m) in Finnish churches. There are lot of old wooden sculptures inside the church sanctified to several Catholic saints and also an old s ...
Founded: 1530-1540 | Location: Tammela, Finland

The Church of Maria Magdalena

The church of Maria Magdalena is a medieval stone church built during 15th and 16th century, probably around years 1500-1520. The church has been renovated 1859-1861 and again 1968.
Founded: 1450-1520 | Location: Föglö, Finland

The Church of St. Sigfrid

The Old Church in Sipoo was built in 1450-1454 by the same unknown architect who designed for example Porvoo, Pernaja and Pyhtää churches.There are several wall paintings inside the church from the end of 15th century.
Founded: 1450-1454 | Location: Sipoo, 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

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.