Medieval churches in Finland

Ravattula Church Ruins

On Ristimäki hill in Ravattula, remains of an early medieval church were found in 2013. The remains have been dated to the late 12th century–early 13th century, in other words to the end of the Finnish Crusade period and the Early Middle Ages. The church is so far the oldest in Finland and also the only one dating from the period before the establishment of Finnish parish system. Ristimäki is exceptionally ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Turku, Finland

The Church of St. Michael

Keminmaa old church is northest medieval church in Finland (built in 1520-1553) and one of the latest ones built before Reformation. The paintings on the ceiling depict the sufferings of Christ; they date from 1650. The pictures of saints on the walls, the baptismal font and the holy-water font date from the Catholic times. The bier and stocks located in the church porch as well as the black pew standing inside the churc ...
Founded: 1520-1553 | Location: Keminmaa, Finland

The Church of Saint Lawrence

The old church of Hämeenkoski was built in the early 16th century and had been abandoned since 1650. Church had quite unique octagonal plan, there's only one similar church in Finland (in Renko).
Founded: 1510-1560 | Location: Hämeenkoski, Finland

The Church of St. Catherine

The site of the present church in Huittinen is an old pagan sacred grove. First stone church was built there around the year 1500. Today only the eastern hall remains as part of the present church (which is extended and modified several times during centuries). Even in the 18th century church was used as a grave for priests and other important persons. Last burial in Huittinen church was made in 1794.
Founded: 1500 | Location: Huittinen, 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

Akaa Stone Sacristy

Akaa medieval stone sacristy was built probably in 1510. The sacristy was originally a part of wooden church. It is supposed to be the first part of a planned stone church, but the plan was never finished.
Founded: 1510 | Location: Toijala, Finland

Sääksmäki Stone Church

The Sääksmäki stone church was built at the turn of 15th and 16th centuries. It burnt down in 1929, and was consecrated in 1933. The major restoration was made between 1998-1999. The stained glass windows and wall paintings in the ceiling were done by the well-known local artist Kalle Carlstedt. The relief was also made by the another local artist Aukusti Veuro. There are two old sculptures of Catholic sai ...
Founded: 1495-1500 | Location: Valkeakoski, Finland

The Church of St. Lawrence

The Church of St. Lawrence was built in the 1380s to replace an earlier wooden church. The tower has been added in 1467, and the wall paintings are from the beginning of the 16th century. The church has been reconstructed in the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century. The remodeling has been done in the 19th century. The altarpiece was painted by B. Reinhold in 1876. The bell dates from the beginning of the 13 ...
Founded: 1380-1420 | Location: Eckerö, Finland

Kalanti Church

The Kalanti stone church, today part of Uusikaupunki city, was built between years 1430 and 1450. The interior is covered with famous wall paintings signed by Petrus Henriksson in 1470s. The oldest altarpiece in Finland was originally in the church of Kalanti. It was made by German master Francke in the beginning of 15th century and stood in Kalanti church until 1883. According the local legend, collected in the 19th cent ...
Founded: 1430-1450 | Location: Uusikaupunki, Finland

The Church of St. Matthias

The stone church of Vårdö was built between 1520 and 1550. There may have been a wooden church before in the same site since the 14th century. Church was enlarged in 1784 and the new sacristy was masoned in 1786. Vårdö church survived without damages from the Great Northern War (1700-1721) although the town of Vårdö was burnt.
Founded: 1520-1550 | Location: Vårdö, Finland

The Church of St. Mary

The present greystone church of St. Mary was built to replace a wooden church at the latter half of 14th century. The tower was built around 1380 and it has baroque fashioned top added in the 18th century.Church is located to the largest Iron Age grave field in Åland and there are some remains of Viking Age living in surroundings.
Founded: 1370-1380 | Location: Saltvik, Finland

The Church of St. Henry

The first record of church in Nousiainen dates back to the year 1232. This refers to a smaller church dedicated to Our Lady which was probably built of wood. Nousiainen was a home of archdiocese in Finland from the early Middle Age and there have probably been several wooden churches before the present one. Archaeologists have found from the church area remains of graveyards dated back to the beginning of 11th century. S ...
Founded: 1420-1430 | Location: Nousiainen, Finland

The Church of St. Olaf

The Church of St. Olaf in Sysmä was built during the first two decades of 16th century. First records of the church in Sysmä date back to the year 1398. There may have been two churches before the present one. The north and south walls were dismantled in 1832-1835 when the church was converted into cruciform plan according to design by C.L. Engel. The belfry was built in 1845.
Founded: 1510-1520 | Location: Sysmä, Finland

The Church of St. Lawrence

The church of Janakkala is a typical medieval stone church. Building was started in 1510 and completed 1520. The author and initiator of the church building was a war marshall Åke Tott.
Founded: 1510-1520 | Location: Janakkala, Finland

The Church of St. Birgitta

The Church of St. Birgitta is one of the oldest churches in Finland. Main hall of stone church is from the end of 13th century and oldest wooden parts of bell tower were built between 1311 and 1316. The sacristy was built in the 1450s. Church was enlarged during 17th century. Oldest lime wall paintings in the church were made around year 1300.
Founded: 1290-1316 | Location: Lemland, Finland

The Church of St. Catherine

The Church of St. Catherine was built in the end of the 13th century, and is oblong in shape. It was destroyed by fire in the beginning of the 15th century. The wall paintings are from 15th century, and the pulpit was placed in 1650. The church has been reconstructed in the 1830s, and the alterpiece was painted by R.W. Ekman in 1869.
Founded: 1300 | Location: Hammarland, Finland

The Church of St. Anna

First record of the church of Kumlinge is in a testament dated back to the year 1484. The church was consecrated to St. Anna. There have been probably a chapel and even two wooden churches before the present stone church, which was built approximately in 1510. Baroque fashioned belltower was erected in 1767. There's also the oldest altarpiece in Finland (from year 1250) and wooden Madonna statue from the 15th century.
Founded: 1510 | Location: Kumlinge, 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

The Church of St. Catherine of Alexandra

Lammi post-medieval church was built probably in the 1510s, although there is a written mark "1444" inside the church. The church and bell tower were destroyed by fire during Finnish Civil War in 1918, and the reconstructions were completed in 1920.
Founded: 1510 | Location: Lammi, Finland

Somero Stone Sacristy

Somero medieval stone sacristy was built probably in the end of 15th century. The sacristy was originally a part of wooden church. It is supposed to be the first part of a planned stone church, but the plan was never finished.
Founded: 1490-1500 | Location: Somero, Finland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Ananuri Castle

Ananuri was a castle and seat of the eristavis (Dukes) of Aragvi, a feudal dynasty which ruled the area from the 13th century. The castle was the scene of numerous battles. The current ensemble dates from the 16th and 17th centuries.

In 1739, Ananuri was attacked by forces from a rival duchy, commanded by Shanshe of Ksani and was set on fire. The Aragvi clan was massacred. However, four years later, the local peasants revolted against rule by the Shamshe, killing the usurpers and inviting King Teimuraz II to rule directly over them. However, in 1746, King Teimuraz was forced to suppress another peasant uprising, with the help of King Erekle II of Kakheti. The fortress remained in use until the beginning of the 19th century. In 2007, the complex has been on the tentative list for inclusion into the UNESCO World Heritage Site program.

Architecture

The fortifications consist of two castles joined by a crenellated curtain wall. The upper fortification with a large square tower, known as Sheupovari, is well preserved and is the location of the last defense of the Aragvi against the Shamshe. The lower fortification, with a round tower, is mostly in ruins.

Within the complex, amongst other buildings, are two churches. The older Church of the Virgin, which abuts a tall square tower, has the graves of some of the Dukes of Aragvi. It dates from the first half of the 17th century, and was built of brick. The interior is no longer decorated, but of interest is a stone baldaquin erected by the widow of the Duke Edishera, who died in 1674.

The larger Church of the Mother of God (Ghvtismshobeli), built in 1689 for the son of Duke Bardzem. It is a central dome style structure with richly decorated façades, including a carved north entrance and a carved grapevine crosson the south façade. It also contains the remains of a number of frescoes, most of which were destroyed by the fire in the 18th century.