Medieval churches in Gotland

Kräklingbo Church

The choir and its apse-like projection to the east are the oldest parts of Kräklingbo Church. This part of the church originally formed the nave and choir of an earlier church; an inscription mentions its inauguration in 1211. The present nave and sacristy were built around 1300, and thus incorporated these earlier elements. The east window in the apse-like projection dates from the reconstruction circa 1300. The two mai ...
Founded: 1211 | Location: Kräklingbo, Sweden

Öja Church

The chancel and apsis of Öja Church were built in the early 13th century. The high tower, used as a landmark for seafarers, was completed in the middle 1300’s by building master Egypticus. The mural paintings, made in different centuries, are worth seeing. The most beautiful artefact in the church is a cross made around 1275.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Gotland, Sweden

Silte Church

Silte Church dates from from the 13th century. During restorative work carried out in 1971-72, the remains of a stave church was however found under the floor of the presently visible church, pre-dating the present church with around one hundred years. The oldest part of the now visible stone church is the choir, dating from the middle of the century and in an early Gothic style. The nave is only slightly later, and appar ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Silte, Sweden

Eskelhem Church

Eskelhem Church was preceded by a wooden church, of which nothing remains. Circa 1200 it was replaced by a stone church. The walls of the nave of the present church are all that remains of this edifice. The church was successively enlarged and rebuilt until it received its present form in the middle of the 14th century. Internally, the church is decorated with different sets of frescos, dating from the end of the 13th ce ...
Founded: 1200 | Location: Eskelhem, Sweden

Sjonhem Church

The oldest part of the Sjonhem church is the tower, which was built in the 13th century. Originally it was attached to a much smaller Romanesque church. The choir and nave was however torn down and replaced with the current structure during the middle of the 13th century. Inside, church frescos decorate the vaults; these also date from the 13th century. Also probably original are some stained glass windows. A crucifix on ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sjonhem, Sweden

Väskinde Church

Väskinde church choir was built slightly after 1250, followed by the nave and church tower in circa 1280. The church has remained largely unaltered since the Middle Ages. The church is Gothic in style. Noteworthy is the southern, sculptured portal of the choir. Its rich ornamentation is unusual for Gotland and seems to reflect an influence from Westphalian churches. Väskinde Church also houses some notable fittings. Th ...
Founded: 1250 | Location: Väskinde, Sweden

Norrlanda Church

A first stone church was built on the site of current Norrlanda Church in the 12th century. To this church a Romanesque tower was added in the 13th century. The presently visible church tower is this tower, and the only remains of the first church. The nave and choir were torn down in the late 13th or early 14th century, and replaced with a new choir and sacristy. A new nave was built slightly later, in the middle of the ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Gothem, Sweden

Västerhejde Church

The church was built in Romanesque style during the 13th century, but underwent some changes during the 19th century. The southern portal was then removed, and the spire of the tower changed from its original, pointed design to its presently visible crow-stepped design, traditionally not found on churches of Gotland. The altarpiece, pulpit and pews date from the 17th century. An oil painting by Fredrik Westin that hangs i ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Västerhejde, Sweden

Roma Church

The current Roma church was preceded by a considerably smaller, Romanesque church. Some fragments from this church have been re-used and incorporated in the façade of the later church. The still extant sacristy is also a remnant of this earlier church. The earlier church was torn down and successively replaced with Gothic style building between 1215 and 1255. Dendrochronological examinations have shown that the latest a ...
Founded: 1215-1255 | Location: Romakloster, Sweden

Vallstena Church

The western part of the nave and the church tower are the oldest parts of the asymmetrical Vallstena church. They date from the early 13th century. A new chancel arch was built at the middle of the same century, and around circa 1300 the new choir was built. Reconstruction of the nave also started around this time; the original plan seems to have been to replace the entire nave with a new, larger nave but for some reason ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Vallstena, Sweden

Träkumla Church

Träkumla stone church was preceded by a wooden church on the same site. The oldest part of the now visible church at Träkumla is the rectangular choir, which was built at the middle of the 13th century. The nave was added slightly later. The church was intended to have a tower; thick walls at the western end of the nave indicate that preparations were made for the erection of a tower, but it was never executed. The pres ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Träkumla, Sweden

Källunge Church

Källunge church (Källunge kyrka) is a church in the island-bishopric of Visby on Gotland. The church is richly decorated with reliefs and frescoes. The frescoes are important evidence of the strong Byzantine influence on Swedish art of the 12th and 13th centuries. An early depiction of a nyckelharpa is found in a relief dating from circa 1350 on one of the gates of the church. The church gives its name to the K ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Visby, Sweden

Hangvar Church

Hangvar church dates from the 13th century. The oldest parts are the choir and nave; the tower was built slightly later. The church has a decorated entrance portal, with sculpted capitals and a sculpture of a man"s head above the portal. Internally, the church ceiling is supported by four vaults which rest on a central column. The base of the column is decorated with carved figures. Among the furnishings, the baptism ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hangvar, Sweden

Follingbo Church

The oldest parts of Follingbo Church are the nave and tower. They date from circa 1200 and together form an unusually accomplished example of Romanesque architecture on Gotland. Although lacking in ornamental sculpture, the tower and nave are well-proportioned and unusually professionally executed. The choir is later (late 13th century) and already Gothic in style, and also considered unusual for its kind. The choir repla ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Follingbo, Sweden

Barlingbo Church

The current Barlingbo Church was erected between 1225-1250 but the foundation of an older church building has been found from the nave floor. The large rosette window in west wall is an unique detail. The interior is decorated with frescoes made in the 13th and 14th century. The font from the 1100s is also beautifully carved. The pulpit dates back to 1673 and sandstone-made altar screen to 1683.
Founded: 1225-1250 | Location: Visby, Sweden

Östergarn Church

Östergarn church is a little 13th century church where the tower of was never built. It was burnt by the Swedes in 1565 during the Nordic Seven Years" War, whereat all medieval fittings were destroyed. It was also sacked by the Russians in 1715 and 1717. In a grave in the church yard lie the German seamen who fell on board the cruiser Albatross, when she was compelled by superior Russian forces to run ashore near t ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Östergarn, Sweden

Viklau Church

Viklau Church choir and nave were built in the late 12th century. The medieval church was completed with tower in the mid-13th century.  The sacristy was added in 1852-1853. One of Sweden's most well-known medieval sculptures, the Viklau Madonna, originally belonged to the church (now in the Swedish History Museum).
Founded: c. 1170 | Location: Viklau, Sweden

Akebäck Church

Akebäck Church was inaugurated in 1149, but the current nave, choir and apse were built in the late 1100s. The strong tower was built in the 1200s. The font originates from the 1200s, wooden crucifix from 1400s, altar and pulpit from 1600s. The big chandelier was donated to the church in 1850.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Visby, Sweden

Eksta Church

The oldest part of Eksta Church is the tower, dating from the 13th century and still unchanged. The rest of the church is also from the Middle Ages, but was heavily rebuilt in 1838. The church still has four medieval portals, in both Romanesque and Gothic style. The interior of the church is largely Neoclassical, dating from the 1838 renovation. A few traces of medieval frescos have survived on the walls, as have a single ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Eksta, Sweden

Fröjel Church

The tower of Fröjel Church was originally built in the 1100’s and other parts in the 14th century. The tower, made for defensive purposes, is today ruined. Between the lychgate and the church is located a maze, called “trojeborg”, of unknown age. There are mural paintings in chancel dating from the 14th century. The triumph crucifix was made around 1300 and the foundation of font date from the 12th ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Klintehamn, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Lübeck Cathedral

Lübeck Cathedral is a large brick-built Lutheran cathedral in Lübeck, Germany and part of the Lübeck UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1173 Henry the Lion founded the cathedral to serve the Diocese of Lübeck, after the transfer in 1160 of the bishop's seat from Oldenburg in Holstein under bishop Gerold. The then Romanesque cathedral was completed around 1230, but between 1266 and 1335 it was converted into a Gothic-style building with side-aisles raised to the same height as the main aisle.

On the night of Palm Sunday (28–29 March) 1942 a Royal Air Force bombing raid destroyed a fifth of the town centre. Several bombs fell in the area around the church, causing the eastern vault of the quire to collapse and destroying the altar which dated from 1696. A fire from the neighbouring cathedral museum spread to the truss of the cathedral, and around noon on Palm Sunday the towers collapsed. An Arp Schnitger organ was lost in the flames. Nevertheless, a relatively large portion of the internal fittings was saved, including the cross and almost all of the medieval polyptychs. In 1946 a further collapse, of the gable of the north transept, destroyed the vestibule almost completely.

Reconstruction of the cathedral took several decades, as greater priority was given to the rebuilding of the Marienkirche. Work was completed only in 1982.

The cathedral is unique in that at 105 m, it is shorter than the tallest church in the city. This is the consequence of a power struggle between the church and the guilds.

The 17 m crucifix is the work of the Lübeck artist Bernt Notke. It was commissioned by the bishop of Lübeck, Albert II. Krummendiek, and erected in 1477. The carvings which decorate the rood screen are also by Notke.

Since the war, the famous altar of Hans Memling has been in the medieval collection of the St. Annen Museum, but notable polyptychs remain in the cathedral.

In the funeral chapels of the southern aisle are Baroque-era memorials by the Flemish sculptor Thomas Quellinus.