Medieval churches in Sweden

Buttle Church

Buttle Church nave and western chancel were built in the late 1100s. It was rebuilt in the early 1200s and again in 1300s. There are frescoes mainly from the 1400s in vaults. The altarpiace dates also from 1400s and triumph cruficix from the 1100s (it is one of the oldest in Gotland). The font was made in mid-1200s and pulpit in early 1700s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Romakloster, Sweden

Hamra Church

Hamra Church was built from the mid-13th century to early 14th century. The retable of sandstone dates from 1792. The triumph crucifix and font dates from the Middle Ages.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hamra, Sweden

När Church

The oldest part of the presently visible church at När is the tower, erected at the middle of the 13th century. Originally, it was designed to be able to function as a defensive tower, with arrowslits still visible on the first floor. The present nave and choir of the church were added to the tower around the year 1300. Of an earlier, Romanesque church on the same site no traces remain today. Externally, the church has ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: När, Sweden

Munka Ljungby Church

Munka Ljungby Church was probably built in the 12th Century by the monks of Herrevadkloster, who owned large tracts of land, including parts of Munka Ljungby, the name meaning Ljungby of the monks. The transepts date from the 1860s. The altarpiece is a copy of a painting by the 17th century artist Rubens.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ängelholm, Sweden

Säve Church

The Säve Church was erected in the early 13th century. It was first known as St. Olaf Church, after the saintly king Olaf II of Norway. The nave has a barrel vault, built in 1696. In 1704, the ceiling was covered with paintings by German artist Christian von Schönfeldt. In 1729, a cupola was built over the choir, painted by Johan Ross. The paintings depict scenes from both the New and the Old Testament. The porc ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Göteborg, Sweden

Kågeröd Church

Kågeröd Church was built in Romanesque style probably in the late 1100s. Vaults and the tower was added probably in the 1400s. The church has been enlarged in 16th and 18th centuries. The interior is decorated with murals dating from the late 1400s. The pulpit was made in 1696 and altar in 1703. There is also a crucifix and font dating from the Middle Ages.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Kågeröd, Sweden

Öjeby Church

The oldest parts of the medieval Öjebyn church date back to the 15th century and the clock-tower is probably the oldest building in Norrbotten. The church was restored in 1753.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Öjebyn, Sweden

Vidbo Church

The original church in Vidbo was built in Romanesque style around 1200. It has been enlarged and restored several times. The triumph crucifix dates from the early 1300s and the current pulpit from 1862.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Sigtuna, Sweden

Danderyd Church

The sacristy and the northeast side of the Danderyd Church were built around 1400. The current appearance dates mainly from the restoration made in 1600s. The church has a strong relation to Baner noble family, who owned the church lands and the near Djursholm Castle for centuries. There are two grave of Baner family in the church and the pulpit (1628) and altar (1707) are donated by them. Among other inventory there are ...
Founded: c. 1400 | Location: Danderyd, Sweden

Svarteborg Church

The first written record of Svarteborg Church dates back to 1391, but the church is probably built already in the 1100s or 1200s. The current appearance originates from the restoration made in 1708. The wooden tower was erected in 1757. The Baroquie style pulpit and altar were made in the 1600s. the paintings in ceilings were made probably by Christian von Schönfeldt in 1741.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Dingle, Sweden

Fru Alstad Church

A Romanesque Fru Alstad church was built in the 12th century, and later it was rebuilt to a magnificent Gothic style temple. The church was originally a pilgrimage church and below the cemetery are still remains from a spring made for sacrifices. The baptismal font is made of sandstone and descends from the 1100s. The triumph crucifix and mural paintigs date from the 1400s, altar from 1689 and pulpit from 1730s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Etelhem Church

The oldest part of the Etelhem Church is a tower, built in the beginning of 1200s. The nave and choir were built around 1300 and sacristy added in 1600s. The interior is decorated with mural paintings made in the 1400s. The well-preserved stained glass in choir window dates from the 1300s. The font was made of sandstone in the late 1100s and wooden crucifix was carved in 1300s. The pulpit dates from 1648 and altar from 16 ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Stånga, Sweden

Björke Church

The western part of the Björke Church chancel and nave were built in the 13th century. The chancel was extended to the east during next century and sacristy was added in 1860. The font and cruficix date from the 13th century. The pulpit (1594) is one of the oldest in Gotland.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Romakloster, 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

Rute Church

The oldest part of the Rute church is the choir, built c. 1230. The nave was built around ten years later, while the tower and the west portal were the last parts of the church to be built. The church was decorated with frescos inside during the late Middle Ages. These were executed by the artist known as the Master of the Passion of Christ and were rediscovered during a renovation in 1951. The church ceiling is supported ...
Founded: c. 1230 | Location: Rute, 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

Levide Church

Levide Church is a largely Romanesque church of a character unique for the countryside of Gotland. Parts of the choir, notably the area around the portal, is however comparable to the northern portal of Visby Cathedral in Visby, the main town of the island. The oldest parts of the church are the aforementioned choir with its apse, dating from the late 12th century. The nave dates from the early 13th century while the tow ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Levide, Sweden

Vänge Church

The Romanesque church tower is the oldest part of the church. It was built circa 1200. Originally it was attached to a Romanesque church, the nave and choir of which however was replaced with the presently visible Gothic parts at the end of the 13th century. The sacristy is the only non-medieval part of the church; it was built in 1866. The exterior of the church is decorated with Romanesque reliefs, re-used from the earl ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Vänge, Sweden

Gärdslösa Church

The Gärdslösa church is the best preserved medieval church on Öland. The western part of the nave as well as the slightly younger western tower was built during the 12th century and the transept was added around 1240. The main restoration was done in 1845. There is a votive ship of the Swedish Riksnyckeln, which was blasted in a battle between the Danish and Swedish navies in the Kalmar Strait in 1679. On ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Borgholm, Öland, Sweden

Skånela Church

The church of Skånela was built in the 1160’s. It was probably designed by the same German architect who designed also Lund Cathedral. The sacristy and north side chapel were added in the 14th century and the church was again enlarged in the 15th century. Skånela church was damaged by fire in 1642 and 1806. The mural paintings inside the church date from the 1300’s. The wooden sculpture of Madonna ...
Founded: 1160's | Location: Sigtuna, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.

The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.

In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.

Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.

About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.

Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.

A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.