Medieval churches in 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. 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

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. 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

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

Kokemäki Stone Sacristy

The sacristy (built probably between 1500-1540 or 1540-1560) was supposed to be the first part of a planned stone church. The plan was never finished.
Founded: 1500-1560 | Location: Kokemäki, Finland

Tenhola Church

The first record of Tenhola parish is from the year 1329. Tenhola medieval stone church was built probably in 1460-1480. It has a richly furnished interior, for example crucifix of about 1470, 14th century triumphal cross and 17th century wall paintings.
Founded: 1460-1480 | Location: Raasepori, 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

Masku Church

The Masku Church, built probably in 1490-1510, and surroundings represents one of the oldest parishes in Western Finland. The Masku parish was mentioned first time in 1234. The Mural paintings and pulpit date from the 17th century. There are also several medieval artefacts like crucifix and Silesian altarpiece located inside the church. Near the church is also "Humikkalan kalmisto", an Iron Age burial ground. Finnish Nat ...
Founded: 1490-1510 | Location: Masku, 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

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. 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

Lemböte Chapel

The chapel of Lemböte is a ruined stone church in Lemland. It has dated to the beginning of 16th century, but first records of the chapel are from the 13th century. Lemland was then an important waypoint between Denmark and Baltic.Archaeologists found a treasure of 270 silver coins inside the chapel in the 19th century. Coins are today in the Åland museum.
Founded: 1500-1530 | Location: Lemland, 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

Tyrväntö Stone Sacristy

The sacristy was part of a wooden church of Tyrväntö and built probably at the beginning of 16th century. It is supposed to be the first part of a planned stone church, but the plan was never finished.
Founded: 1500 | Location: Hattula, Finland

Urjala Stone Sacristy

The sacristy was built probably 1520-1540 and was part of a wooden church till 1806. It is supposed to be the first part of a planned stone church, but the plan was never finished.
Founded: 1520-1540 | Location: Urjala, 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

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

Kemiö Church

The present Kemiö stone church replaced the previous wooden church probably in 1469. The bell tower was erected in 1786-1788. The church was originally dedicated to St. Andrew. Fire has damaged Kemiö church several times during centuries. The latest renovation was made in 1920-1922. It was funded by the famous businessman and patron Amos Andersson and designed by architect Armas Lindgren.
Founded: 1469 | Location: Kemiö, 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

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.