Medieval churches in Sweden

Hackås Church

Hackås Church was built in the 1100s and is probably the oldest in Norrland area. In 1770-1771 it was enlarged and the church got its present appearance. There are frescoes from the 13th century in apsis. The belfry was erected in 1752.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Hackås, Sweden

Bokenäs Old Church

Bokenäs Old Church is one of the most well-preserved medieval churches in Bohuslän. It was founded at some point in the early 12th century, and has been in use since. Except for parts of the interior, the weapon house from the 17th century, and the tower from 1752, most of the church is original. The church is open to the public daily during the summer, and for pre-arranged visits during the rest of the year, du ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Uddevalla, Sweden

Bro Church

The original church in Bro was built in the 13th century, but it was largely restored in 1699 and 1937. The ceilings were painted by Christian von Schönfeldt. The altar and font date from the end of the 17th century and pulpit from 1722.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Brastad, Sweden

Dalum Church

Dalum church originally consisted of Romanesque style nave, choir and apsis, built in the 1100s. The tower was added later during the same century. The sacristy was built in 1300s and church got its Gothic details. The tower destroyed in 1500s and the new one was erected in 1600s during the restoration. The bell tower dates from 1693. The current altar dates from 1693.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Dalum, Sweden

Fors Church

Fors Church is first time mentioned in 1338. The major restoration occured in 1709 when the new choir was constructed and windows enlarged. The new sacristy was added in 1900. The paintings in ceilings date from 1746, made by Ditloff Ross. The font was made in 1200s, the Baroque pulpit in 1734 and organs in 1954.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Sjuntorp, Sweden

Hogrän Church

Hogrän Church consists of a Romanesque tower and a Gothic nave and choir. The tower thus is the oldest part of the church, dating from circa 1200. Attached to it was originally an earlier stone church, also Romanesque in style and erected during the 12th century. During the 14th century, it was however replaced by the presently visible Gothic nave and choir. A few details from this earlier church, such as a few sculpted ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Visby, 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

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

Håtuna Church

The first church in Håtuna was probably built in the 1000’s. Later in 12th century it was replaced with a small Romanesque-style stone church. Oldest parts (like the tower) were included to the present church, which was built in the early 14th century. The brick vaults were made in the 15th century. The steeple collapsed in 1700 and the remaining parts of the tower was demolished during the 1800s. During the restoratio ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Håtuna, Sigtuna, Sweden

Resmo Church

Resmo Church was built in the early 11th century and it is one of the oldest still used church in Sweden. The apsis, nave and western tower date from the original church. Wooden arches and the sacristy were added in the 18th century. There were originally two towers, but the eastern one was demolished in 1826. There are some frescoes remaining from the late 12th century. The interior originate mainly from the 18th centur ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Mörbylånga, Sweden

Hagby Church

Hagby Church is one of Sweden's few preserved round churches, and is considered by many to be the best preserved one in the country. The predecessor of Hagby stone church was the wooded Saint Sigfrid chapel, which was located about two kilometres south of the present church structure. The construction of this stone church began in the late 12th century. The structure was meant to serve both as a sanctuary and a fortified ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ljungbyholm, Sweden

Ösmo Church

The oldest part of the Ösmo Church was constructed in the latter part of the 12th century. The church was modernized in the 14th century, when the old chancel was demolished and replaced by one which was both taller and wider. The church largely gained its present appearance during the 15th century. The interior of the church is decorated with frescoes added just after the middle of the 15th century. It is said that ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Nynäshamn, Sweden

Liden Old Church

Liden"s Old Church construction was started around 1483 by the Dominican monk Josephus and completed finally in 1510. It replaced an earlier church, probably from the 1200s (the crucifix and Madonna sculpture from the original church are survived and visible in the church). The interior was decorated with frescoes in 1561. The altar decorations and pulpit were made in 1755 by Jonas Granberg.
Founded: 1483-1510 | Location: Liden, Sweden

Ulricehamn Church

Ulricehamn Church originates from th 15th century, but it was built to the current appearance in 1688. The three candelabras in the church are very impressive, and the oldest was made in 1627. The altarpiece and pulpit are both carved in elaborate Baroque style and were made in the 18th century. The ceiling is adorned with paintings from the late 17th century. These were produced by Anders Falck.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Ulricehamn, Sweden

Halla Church

The oldest part of Halla Church is the Romanesque nave, dating from circa 1200. The tower is slightly later, while the disproportionally large choir is from the middle of the 14th century, in Gothic style and replacing an older on the same spot. Scholars have concluded that there were plans to replace the whole church with a Gothic edifice, but the builders probably ran out of funds after constructing the choir. The exte ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Halla, Sweden

Öckerö Old Church

The older church of Öckerö was built around 1450 to the site of earlier wooden church. The current appearance date from the restoration made in the 1780s. There are two artefacts, a font and crucifix, dating from the previous church and two wooden sculptures made in the 15th century. The altar was made in 1626 and roof paintings (“Last Judgement”) in 1792.
Founded: ca. 1450 | Location: Öckerö, Sweden

Kinne-Vedum Church

Kinne-Vedum church was built of sandstone in the late 12th century by German master Othelric. It is one of the best preserved Romanesque churches in the county. The tower was erected in the 13th century and arches in the 15th century. The font, made of sandstone, date from the 1100s. There are also two Madonna sculptures from the Middle Ages. The pulpit was made in 1691.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Götene, Sweden

Västerplana Church

Västerplana Church date from the 12th century. In the 18th century the church was considered to be too small and therefore it was enlarged and transformed into a cruciform church. Thus the direction of its nave is no longer west to east but north to south, where the chancel is today. The northern arm of the cross was begun in 1724 and the southern one was finished in 1737. This new part of the church got a high altar ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Källby, Sweden

Suntak Church

Suntak is the only parish in Tidaholm that has two churches in use. The old church in Suntak is of rare character with its Romance architecture from the late 12th century. Inside the church there are remains of the wall paintings made during the Middle Ages of lime. One of the oldest piece of furniture in Sweden was found in the old church in Suntak, a bishops-bench from late Middle Ages. The piece of furniture with it i ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Tidaholm, Sweden

Rogslösa Church

The tower of Rogslösa Church was built in the 1100s and the existing nave in 1200s. The ornamentation around the church door was carved at this time, and depicts a number of religious and Biblical themes. It is renowned as a particularly fine example of work from the period. The inventory includes a German triptych from the 15th century and a late medieval processional crucifix.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Borghamn, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.