Medieval churches in Sweden

Torsång Church

Torsång church is thought to be the oldest church in the Dalarna region, and still retains much of the appearance and character of a 13th century church. It has a separate belfry (erected in the 16th century) with bells that are several hundred years old. The church has a font made in the 13th century, about as old as the church itself. There is also a 15th century crucifix and the pulpit was carved in 1624.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Borlänge, Sweden

Kalmar Church

Kalmar Church was built of granite in the late 12th century. Around 1300 it was enlarged and modified to the aisleless Gothic church. In 1485 famous Albertus Pictor decorated walls and vaults with murals. Frescoes were restored in 1958 and still visible. Th current tower was added in 1830. There is font with a cuppa, made of red sandstone, from the late 1100s and medieval wooden sculptures (like a triptych from the mid-14 ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bålsta, Sweden

St. Nicholas' Church

St. Nicholas" is one of the medieval churches in Nyköping.The building history is quite complex and the age is therefore unknown. it is probably founded in the 12th century. The church was enlarged in the 14th century and the tower was added a century later. The church was burnt during the two major town fires in 1665 and 1719. The oldest item in the church is a altar made around 1500.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Nyköping, 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

Edebo Church

The present stone church was built during the second half of 1400s, but the vestry may date from the 1200s. The church is decorated with well-preserved frescoes made by so-called "Edebo master". Paintings depict events from the Old and New Testament. The porch was built in 1514. A bell tower stands on the other side of the highway northwest of the church. The large bell was cast in 1625.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Norrtälje, Sweden

Church of the Holy Cross

Only the church remains from the medieval Ronneby. The building of the Holy Cross Church was started at the end of the 12th century. Already during the first half of the 13th century, the church was made twice as big. The church was rebuilt even more during the 14th and 15th centuries, because Ronneby became a town.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ronneby, Sweden

Vaksala Church

The grey-stone church of Vaksala was built in the 12th century. Two chapels were added in the 15th century. The altar, biggest in the Uppland diocese, was made in Antwerpen around the year 1500. The pulpit was carved in 1795.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Uppsala, 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

Vallkärra Church

Vallkärra Church was built in the 1100s in Romanesque style. Today only the choir remains of the original church, it was largely restored and rebuilt in 1844-1845.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Lund, 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

Strö Church

The nave of Strö Church was built in the 12th century and arches were added probably in the same time with tower in the 15th century. The pulpit dates probably from the late 1500s. There is a runestone attached in tower wall.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Strö, 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

Skegrie Church

Skegrie church was constructed in the end of the 12th century. What remains from that time are the choir and parts of the nave. In 1844 Carl Georg Brunius made a large renovation and the west tower among other things was built. The pulpit originates from year 1611 and the baptismal font, made of oak, from 1661. There are also tin candlesticks from the beginning of the 17th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Stora Tuna Church

The medieval church of former Stora Tuna municipality was built in 1469 as the three-nave cathedral. During the years 1557-1568, three priests with bishop title worked in the church. After that Dalarna and Västerås dioceses were joined and the church remained as one of the largest parish churches in Sweden. The 86m high tower was erected in 1917. The church contains many valuable artefacts including a fine 16th century ...
Founded: 1469 | Location: Borlänge, 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

Munsö Church

Munsö Church is one of a few medieval round churches in Sweden. Traces of permanent habitations dating from the Bronze or Iron Age have been found in the area, and several of the larger farmsteads in the area are traceable back to the Iron Age. Munsö Church was possibly built for one such farm, called Bona. The church dates from the 12th century. The exact date is unknown, but given the peculiarity that the chu ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ekerö, Sweden

Skalunda Church

Skalunda Church might be built in the late 100s or around 1140. It is anyway one of the oldest in the region. The sandstone church has Anglo-Saxon features, and it is possible that it was built by unkown English or Norwegian missionaries. The porch and sacristy were added in the 15th century as well as vaults. The belfry dates from 1772. There are also two runestones in the churchyard.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Skalunda, Sweden

Alva Church

The oldest parts of Alva Church are the choir and the apse, dating from the early 13th century. To this the nave was added during the late part of the same century. Construction of the broad tower started about a hundred years later but was never finished; hence the somewhat squat appearance of the church today. It seems in fact that construction of the church came to a rapid end: apart from the half-finished tower, the m ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hemse, Sweden

Bonderup Church

Bonderup Church was built in Romanesque style in the 12th century. The vaulting was added in the 15th century and the tower in 1850. The tower was damaged by lightning in 1916 and rebuilt. The altarpiece dates from the 1600s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Lund, Sweden

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.