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 r ...
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

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.