Medieval churches in Lolland

Stokkemarke Church

Stokkemarke Church dates from the mid-1200s. It was built in the Romanesque style with later additions in the Gothic period. The church was dedicated to St. Clement in 1396 although it was later associated with St. George, probably as a result of a panel from St Jørgens Hospital in Bregerup which hung in the church until 1878. A reliquary found in the high altar was a gift from Bishop Gisike of Odense (1286–1 ...
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Stokkemarke, Denmark

Hunseby Church

Hunseby Church was built in the mid-1100s with a Romanesque chancel and nave and a Gothic tower. The church was originally dedicated to St. Andrew as can be seen from the inscription on the oldest bell from 1465. From Romanesque inscriptions in the stonework supporting an old portal, it appears the church must have existed in the middle of the 12th century. Little is known of its early ownership apart from the fact that t ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Maribo, Denmark

Søllested Church

Søllested Church was built of granite originally in c. 1100. It has no tower. The pulpit dates from the early 1600s and the altar was painted by Peter Raadsig in 1855. In the churchyard is a rare small bell campanile from the late Middle Ages.
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Søllested, Denmark

Nakskov Church

Nakskov Church is the largest church in Nakskov on the east coast of the Danish island of Lolland. As Nakskov was mentioned in Valdemar"s Census Book in the 13th century, the church probably dates to the same period. Remains of a wooden church from c. 1000 were unearthed in the 1950s. It was replaced by a brick church dedicated to Saint Nicholas which is first mentioned in 1398 although its oldest sections probably d ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Nakskov, Denmark

Nysted Church

The present building of Nysted Church dates back to c. 1300. Originally it consisted of a central nave with a three sided apse to the east. The impressive tower was built a century later. In 1643 a spire was added, and in 1935 this was covered by copper. The Raben-Levtzau family of Aalholm Castle had their own chapel built in 1782. According a rumour there is a secret underground passage from the castle to the church. It ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Nysted, Denmark

Sakskøbing Church

Sakskøbing Church was built in the late 1200s and during following centuries the original church was extended with a nave and tower. The present 48m high tower was built in 1852. The altarpiece from the 1500s is a late Gothic wood carving from Lübeck. The pulpit dates from about 1620.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sakskøbing, Denmark

Maribo Cathedral

Maribo Abbey, established in 1416, was the first Bridgettine monastery in Denmark and became one of the most important Danish abbeys of the late Middle Ages. The monastery is in ruins, but the abbey church still remains in use as Maribo Cathedral. Originally dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Saint Bridget of Vadstena, the church was built in the early 15th century. It was Queen Margrethe I who provided land for a monaster ...
Founded: 1416 | Location: Maribo, Denmark

Toreby Church

Toreby Church was built around 1200 and it is an unusually large red-brick Romanesque building, the nave and chancel having been extended in the Gothic period with a sacristy and lateral aisle. The tower was constructed in late Gothic times, shortly after the church was built. The sacristy to the north of the chancel was built at the beginning of the 14th century. The aisles were added in the Gothic period, first the one ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Toreby, Denmark

Kettinge Church

Kettinge Church was built between 1200 and 1250 and enlarged strongly in the early 1300s. Vaults were also added then and decorated by so-called Elmelunde Master or his students. The font is the oldest item in the church. Also one bell (1401) and crucifix date from the Catholic Age. The altar and pulpit were carved in 1612.
Founded: 1200-1250 | Location: Kettinge, Denmark

Fejø Church

Fejø Church oldest part was constructed in 1240, while the chancel, nave and church porch were added over the subsequent decades. In the Middle Ages the church was dedicated to St Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors. The church is situated right down by the water and originally served as a church for the surrounding islands, from where the congregation came to church by boat. The church has a tiled pyramidical r ...
Founded: 1240 | Location: Fejø, Denmark

Holeby Church

Holeby Church was built in the mid-1200s. Its Romanesque architecture is more simple than in other churches in Lolland island. The most notable inventory is a so-called Holeby Crucifix from the 1300s, which is today located at Maribo Museum. The unusually big baptismal font was made in Gotland. The pulpit dates from 1586 and altar from 1590. It is also known that the preceding altar depicted St. John Chrysostom and the ch ...
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Holeby, Denmark

Landet Church

Landet Church was built in the 12th century. It is the one of few Lolland churches made of Granite. The tower, porch and sacristy were aded later. The impressive tower was also used as a lighthouse. The altar dates from 1582 and pulpit from 1610.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Søllested, Denmark

Horslunde Church

Horslunde Church was built in the 12th century and dedicated to St. Hans. Through the years it has undergone several large alterations. The altarpiece and the pulpit date from 1594. Former Danish prime minister, Christian Ditlev Frederik Reventlow is buried at the site.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Horslunde, Denmark

Købelev Church

Købelev Church was built around 1300 and restored in 1883 and 1970. The chancel gable wall is a beautiful architectural work. The churchs organ is one of the few Gudme company Organs, which are still existing. The altarpiece is a work by the famous church painter Eckersburg from 1841. The interior of the church contains a pew with the name of a smallholder Otto Kulds, engraved upon it. This is dated 1646.
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Nakskov, Denmark

Avnede Church

Avnede Church was originally a wooden structure, probably one of the first to be built on Lolland in the early 11th century. It was located near a spring known in pre-Christian times and later Christianized as St Lawrence"s spring. It was well known for the powerful effects of its waters. The church itself was also originally dedicated to St Lawrence. Today"s stone building dates from the end of the 14th century ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Nakskov, Denmark

Errindlev Church

Errindlev Church dates from the second half of the 12th century. It has a Romanesque chancel and nave. The church is said to have been dedicated to St Nicholas because of its associations with seafarers who used it as a landmark. After the Reformation it belonged to the Crown until in 1699 it was transferred to Flemming Holck til Lungholm whose estate was acquired by Christian Detlev Reventlow. As a result, it later came ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Errindlev, Denmark

Kappel Church

Kappel Church was constructed as a chapel around 1464. It was as a pilgrimage site believed to have healing properties. After the Reformation there were orders to pull down the building, possibly owing to Catholic connections. This never occured and it became a parish church. The pulpit was introduced in the 17th century. The altarpiece is an 1860 painting by Jørgen Roed.
Founded: c. 1464 | Location: Nakskov, Denmark

Engestofte Church

Engestofte Church was built around the year 1100. The whitewashed Gothic church was restored in 1856-57. Pews, organ case and pulpit in modern Gothic style are painted to look like oak, and the pulpit, decorated by Willie the carver - Copenhagen, furthermore with gilt. The altarpiece is a late Gothic cabinet with double side panels, certainly a work from Lübeck from about 1510. It is considered to be among the most b ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Maribo, Denmark

Birket Church

Built around 1350, Birket church is rather younger than many country churches in the area which are typically from the 12th and 13th centuries. Until 1687, it had its own parish priest but it was then annexed to Vesterborg until 1914. After the Reformation it came under the ownership of the Crown but in 1686 was transferred to Pedr Brandt til Pederstrup. The church became independent in 1914. The church, built of brick o ...
Founded: 1350 | Location: Torrig, Denmark

Arninge Church

Arninge Church is a Late Romanesque church built of red brick in the 13th century. It has an intricately carved auricular altarpiece created by Henrik Werner in 1644. The church was originally dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Built of red brick, the church consists of a Romanesque apse, chancel and nave and a Gothic porch. There is a free-standing 14th century timber bell tower adjacent to the church. The chancel has traces ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Dannemare, Denmark

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.