Medieval churches in 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

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

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

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. 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

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

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.