Medieval churches in Finland

St. Henry's Church

The first evidence of Pyhtää as an independent parish dates back to 1380. At that time already the parish had a church, but it is not known where it was situated or what it looked like. Until 1600 Pyhtää included, besides its present area, also half of the present city of Kotka, Ruotsinpyhtää, Elimäki, the western parts of Anjalankoski, and a part of Lapinjärvi.Dedicated to St. Henr ...
Founded: 1460 | Location: Pyhtää, Finland

Savilahti Stone Sacristy

Savilahti stone sacristy was originally a part of Savilahti church, which was destroyed for some reason. The sacristy was built approximately in 1520-1560 and it was planned to be the first part of new stone church. The plan was never finished because the King of Sweden confiscated parish during Reformation.The sacristy have been used for burials and there are 22 graves under the floor. It was abandoded for a long time un ...
Founded: 1520-1560 | Location: Mikkeli, 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

The St. Birgit Memorial Church

The St. Birgit Memorial Church was built probably between years 1502-1505. It is dedicated in memory of St. Birgit who died in Rome in 1373 and was proclaimed as a saint in 1391. Situated on the bordering area between the historic districts of Satakunta and Häme, the architectural style of the church exhibits certain influences from both of these areas. The shapes of the nave, rich in decoration, are typical of Sata ...
Founded: 1502-1505 | Location: Lempäälä, 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

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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Königstein Fortress

Königstein Fortress is located on the left bank of the River Elbe. It is one of the largest hilltop fortifications in Europe. The 9.5 hectare rock plateau rises 240 metres above the Elbe and has over 50 buildings, some over 400 years old, that bear witness to the military and civilian life in the fortress. The rampart run of the fortress is 1,800 metres long with walls up to 42 metres high and steep sandstone faces. In the centre of the site is a 152.5 metre deep well, which is the deepest in Saxony and second deepest well in Europe.

The fortress, which for centuries was used as a state prison, is still intact and is now one of Saxony's foremost tourist attractions, with 700,000 visitors per year.

By far the oldest written record of a castle on the Königstein is found in a deed by King Wenceslas I of Bohemia dating to the year 1233. It is probable that there had been a stone castle on the Königstein as early as the 12th century. The oldest surviving structure today is the castle chapel built at the turn of the 13th century. In the years 1563 to 1569 the 152.5 metre deep well was bored into the rock within the castle - until that point the garrison of the Königstein had to obtain water from cisterns and by collecting rainwater.

Between 1589 and 1591/97 Prince-Elector Christian I of Saxony and his successor had the castle developed into the strongest fortification in Saxony. The hill was now surrounded with high walls. Buildings were erected, including the Gatehouse (Torhaus), the Streichwehr, the Old Barracks (Alte Kaserne), the Christiansburg (Friedrichsburg) and the Old Armoury (Altes Zeughaus). The second construction period followed from 1619 to 1681, during which the John George Bastion was built. The third construction period is seen as the time from 1694 to 1756, which included the expansion of the Old Barracks. From 1722 to 1725, at the behest of August the Strong, coopers under Böttger built the enormous Königstein Wine Barrel, the greatest wine barrel in the world, in the cellar of the Magdalenenburg which had a capacity of 249,838 litres. It cost 8,230 thalers, 18 groschen and 9 pfennigs. The butt, which was once completely filled with country wine from the Meißen vineyards, had to be removed again in 1818 due to its poor condition. Because of Böttger, Königstein Fortress is also the site where European porcelain started.

Even after the expansion during those periods of time there continued to be modifications and additions on the extensive plateau. The Treasury (Schatzhaus) was built from 1854 to 1855. After the fortress had been incorporated in 1871 into the fortification system of the new German Empire, battery ramparts were constructed from 1870 to 1895 with eight firing points, that were to have provided all-round defence for the fortress in case of an attack that, in the event, never came. This was at this time that the last major building work was done on the fortress.

Because Königstein Fortress was regarded as unconquerable, the Saxon monarchs retreated to it from Wittenberg and later Dresden during times of crisis and also deposited the state treasure and many works of art from the famous Zwinger here; it was also used as a country retreat due to its lovely surroundings.

The fortress played an important role in the History of Saxony, albeit less as a result of military action. The Saxon Dukes and Prince-Electors used the fortress primarily as a secure refuge during times of war, as a hunting lodge and maison de plaisance, but also as a dreaded state prison. Its actual military significance was rather marginal.

Since 1955 the fortress has been an open-air, military history museum of high touristic value.