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

Church of the Savior on Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.

Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.

In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.