Medieval churches in Sweden

Högestad Church

The beautiful stone church of Högestad was built in the 12th century. The tower was added in the 14th century. The church bell date also from the 14th century. The pulpit was made in 1726. There are also fine medieval frescoes in walls.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ystad, Sweden

Österhaninge Church

The medieval Österhaninge church date from the 13th century. The sacristy and porch were added in 1400s and the tower in 1587. The chapel of Bielkenstierna family was designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Older in 1663. The marble epitaph was made by Nicolas Millich in 1680. Also the pulpit date from the 17th century.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Haninge, Sweden

Funbo Church

The Funbo Church is a medieval stone church, built in the late 12th century. It consists of a rectangular nave, a narrow choir and an apse. The sacristy and the porch were added in the 15th century. The porch was used as the main entrance until 1745, when the current entrance in the western wall was built. The bell tower was erected in 1675. The church interior includes some notable items, such as a 13th century baptisma ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Gothem Church

Gothem church is one of the biggest in Gotland. The oldest part, apsis and sacristy date from the 1200s. The tower was completed around 1350. It was damaged by lightning in the 19th century and restored. The church bell is the largest medieval one in Gotland, made in 1374. The interior is decorated with mural paintings dating from the 14th century. There are remains of the older church outside and also a defence tower bu ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Gothem, Sweden

Borrie Church

Borrie Church is one of the oldest and smallest in Scania. It was probably built in the early 1100s in Anglo-Saxon style. It consisted of a nave, chancel and apse. The tower was added in the 13th century and demolished in the 19th century. The church was abandoned and left to decay before the reconstruction made in the 19th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ystad, Sweden

Hablingbo Church

Hablingbo Church was made of sandstone. The tower was erected around the year 1200 and the Gothic-style main nave and choir were built in the 14th century. The sacristy was added in the 1730s. The most interesting detail is a Lion Portal, originally the main entrance to the former 12th century Romanesque church. When the church was rebuilt in the 14th century, it was re-used in the north face of the nave. The story of Ca ...
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Havdhem, Sweden

Råda Church

Råda Church was probably built in the early 1100s to the site of even earlier wooden church. The chancel was rebuilt in the late 1200s and the tower and sacristy were added in 1400s. Mural paintings date from the 1632. There is also a Viking Age runestone attached in the porch wall. According the excavations made in graveyard, Råby was already inhabitate in the 9th century AD.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Råda, Sweden

Kimstad Church

Kimstad church nave was built in the 1100s and new choirs and chapel were constructed in the 1650s. The tower cap dates from 1770. The altarpiece, 1730, is probably made by the same artist who worked in Stockholm Royal Palace. The late Renaissance pulpit was made between 1660–1669.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Norrköping, Sweden

Söderby-Karl Church

Söderby-Karl Church was built around 1300 or soon later. The porch was added later in the 1300s and brick arches in the mid-1400s. The external bell tower was erected probably in 1664. The main restoration was done in 1790. The interior is decorated with beautiful murals from the late Middle Ages which have never been overpainted. The sandstone font dates from 1200s.
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Norrtälje, Sweden

The Church of the Holy Trinity

The Church of the Holy Trinity (Heliga Trefaldighets Kyrka) was built in the 13th century; the earliest plans were of a monastery for an order of Franciscan monks which had settled in Arboga. Early in the 16th century Gustav Vasa started Reformation in Sweden and the monastery was opened as a church for the people of Arboga. During renovations in the 17th century a church tower was added to the building. Among the artifa ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Arboga, Sweden

Järrestad Church

The nave, chancel and apse of Järrestad Church dates from the 12th century. It was enlarged and the tower was added in the 15th century. Since 1500s the exterior is survived without any modifications. The pulpit dates from 1635.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Simrishamn, Sweden

Morlanda Church

Morlanda church is the only survived medieval church on the island of Orust. The current appearance dates from the 17th century. The bell tower was erected in 1765. The organs, made in 1604 in Copenagen, are the oldest still working organs in Sweden.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ellös, 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

Varnhem Abbey

Varnhem Abbey (Varnhems kloster) was founded around 1150 by monks of the Cistercian Order from Alvastra Abbey in Östergötland. The Cistercian Order used the same floor plan for all its abbeys, which makes it possible to easily locate the different rooms and halls regardless of the building site. A wooden and a stone church were both erected on the site before the abbey was built. The stone church was erected in ...
Founded: ca. 1150 | Location: Varnhem, Sweden

Älgarås Church

Älgarås Church is a rare medieval wooden church. It was built in the 15th century, the porch was added in 1647 and choir in 1684. The church has lot of survived medieval items, like a unique altar screen, a triump crucifix (c. 1250) and a wooden bell with runic writing.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Älgarås, Sweden

Västra Alstad Church

Västra Alstad church was originally built in the 1100s, but only the lower part of the tower is from that time. The nave was erected in 1840-1841 and expanded with a new chancel in 1898. The reredos and the pulpit date from 1598, but the reredos was repainted in 1695. The baptismal font from 1944 is made of limestone and made by the artist Anders Jönsson from Stockholm.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Lummelunda Church

The nave and tower are the oldest parts of the church in Lummelunda. They were both erected circa 1200. Originally, a choir built at the same time formed part of the church. This choir was razed in the middle of the 14th century, and the presently, disproportionally large choir was built instead. The rebuilding of the choir was intended as the beginning of a complete reconstruction scheme, but only the choir was executed. ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Lummelunda, Sweden

Baldringe Church

Baldringe Church was built in the late 1100s or in the beginning of 1200s in Romanesque style. The restoration was made in 1880s and some medieval mural paintings were removed. The bell tower was also added then. The baptismal font, made of limestone of Gotland, date from the 1200s as well as the triumph crucifix. The pulpit and altar were made in the 1600s. There is also a Viking Age runestone, so-called Baldringestenen, ...
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Ystad, Sweden

St. Lawrence's Church

The St. Lawrence’s church (S:t Laurentii kyrka) was probably built around year 1300. It was enlarged in the 15th or 16th century and burned down in the Seven Years War (1563-1570).
Founded: ca. 1300 | Location: Falkenberg, Sweden

Sunnersberg Church

Sunnersberg medieval church dates back to the 1200s, but it has been enlarged and reconstructed several times. Fire damaged it badly in 1583. The most remarkable detail is an altarpiece, which is painted by famouse Flemish Baroque artist Anthony van Dyck in 1620. It was donated to Sunnesberg church by Clas Julius Ekeblad in 1779. The pulpit was donated by Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie in 1670.
Founded: 1200-1250 | Location: Sunnersberg, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls) is a 17th-century church and monastery in the city of Lisbon. It is one of the most important monasteries and mannerist buildings in the country. The monastery also contains the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal.

The original Monastery of São Vicente de Fora was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, for the Augustinian Order. The Monastery, built in Romanesque style outside the city walls, was one of the most important monastic foundations in mediaeval Portugal. It is dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of Lisbon, whose relics were brought from the Algarve to Lisbon in the 12th century.

The present buildings are the result of a reconstruction ordered by King Philip II of Spain, who had become King of Portugal (as Philip I) after a succession crisis in 1580. The church of the monastery was built between 1582 and 1629, while other monastery buildings were finished only in the 18th century. The author of the design of the church is thought to be the Italian Jesuit Filippo Terzi and/or the Spaniard Juan de Herrera. The plans were followed and modified by Leonardo Turriano, Baltazar Álvares, Pedro Nunes Tinoco and João Nunes Tinoco.

The church of the Monastery has a majestic, austere façade that follows the later Renaissance style known as Mannerism. The façade, attributed to Baltazar Álvares, has several niches with statues of saints and is flanked by two towers (a model that would become widespread in Portugal). The lower part of the façade has three arches that lead to the galilee (entrance hall). The floorplan of the church reveals a Latin cross building with a one-aisled nave with lateral chapels. The church is covered by barrel vaulting and has a huge dome over the crossing. The general design of the church interior follows that of the prototypic church of Il Gesù, in Rome.

The beautiful main altarpiece is a Baroque work of the 18th century by one of the best Portuguese sculptors, Joaquim Machado de Castro. The altarpiece has the shape of a baldachin and is decorated with a large number of statues. The church also boasts several fine altarpieces in the lateral chapels.

The Monastery buildings are reached through a magnificent baroque portal, located beside the church façade. Inside, the entrance is decorated with blue-white 18th century tiles that tell the history of the Monastery, including scenes of the Siege of Lisbon in 1147. The ceiling of the room has an illusionistic painting executed in 1710 by the Italian Vincenzo Baccarelli. The sacristy of the Monastery is exuberantly decorated with polychromed marble and painting. The cloisters are also notable for the 18th century tiles that recount fables of La Fontaine, among other themes.

In 1834, after the religious orders were dissolved in Portugal, the monastery was transformed into a palace for the archbishops of Lisbon. Some decades later, King Ferdinand II transformed the monks' old refectory into a pantheon for the kings of the House of Braganza. Their tombs were transferred from the main chapel to this room.