Medieval churches in Sweden

Lokrume Church

Lokrume Church history dates back to the 12th century. The northern wall of the presently visible church nave dates from this century. Parts of the northern wall of the choir also date from this church. However, later reconstructions have reshaped the church and nothing more remains of this first, Romanesque church. During the second quarter of the 13th century, the larger part of the presently visible choir was built, w ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Lokrume, Sweden

Vendel Church

The sacristy of Vendel Church was made of brick probably in the late 1200s and it is the oldest still existing part of the church. The current church building was completed around the year 1300. Arches were added in the 1450s and the church was enlarged in the 18th century. Vende church is well-known of its mural paintings, dating back to the year 1451. They were painted by Johannes Ivan and donated by Agneta Krummedik f ...
Founded: late 1200s | Location: Örbyhus, Sweden

Kläckeberga Church

Kläckeberga Church was built in the early 13th century, but was subsequently burned by the Danes in 1611. Today, the interior of the church consists mostly of furnishings and objects from the 18th century and later. The church originally had three floors: a cellar, main floor (the present church hall) and a larger hall above that. In addition, there was once a shooting attic above that hall. So Kläckeberga Chur ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Kalmar, Sweden

Sånga Church

The Sånga church has been mentioned first time in 1308, when madame Ingeborg donated her land property to the church. The church was however built already in the late 1100s and enlarged in the 14th century. The church has interesting mural paintings made around 1470. There are for example humorous paintings displaying events of Holy Bible. Also the pulpit, made in 1635, is richly decorated.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ekerö, Sweden

Hilleshög Church

The Hilleshög Church is a mostly Romanesque edifice, built in granite and brick, with some parts from the 17th and 18th centuries and later additions. It was probably built in the late 1100s and the sacristy and the porch were added in the 15th century. Many of the paintings in the interior, dating back to the end of 13th century and they early 15th century, were painted over in the 18th century but were restored in ...
Founded: ca. 1170 | Location: Ekerö, Sweden

Sanda Church

The oldest part of the church is the tower, dating from the middle of the 13th century. The nave is from the beginning of the 14th century, while the choir dates from the middle of the same century. There was an earlier church on the same spot, elements of which have been incorporated as building material in the presently visible church. The church is richly decorated inside with frescos dating from the Middle Ages. They ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sanda, Sweden

Saint Nicholas' Church

The oldest part of the church of Saint Nicholas is from the late 13th century, but the nave was built some decades later. In the 14th century, the church formed part of a Carmelite convent. The altarpiece and pulpit were made in 1620s.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sölvesborg, Sweden

Dörby Church

The current Dörby church made of sandstone replaced the wooden one in the first half of 13th century. During the Kalmar War 1611-1612 the church was sacked and burnt down. It was restored in 1624-1625 and again in 1778. The crucifix is the only survived item from the medieval church.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Kalmar, Sweden

Vall Church

Vall Church is a largely Romanesque church that dates from the 13th century. It was built in three phases. Oldest is the choir with the apse, and the nave, dating from the early part of the century. The tower was begun during the middle of the century and made higher at the end of the century. The church is a relatively well-preserved Romanesque building, with a tower that is unusually tall in comparison with similar chu ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Vall, Sweden

All Saints Church

All Saints (Alla Helgona) Church was built in the late 1200s, but during the Duke Karl"s time (1590-1618) it went through a radical transformation. At the restoration in 1909 the church received its small ridge turrets, which is a replica of the tower on Erik Dahlberg´s engravings of Nyköping. In 1665 the church was ravaged by fire. At the recent restoration in 1959-1960 were the pillars restored in to ori ...
Founded: 1590-1618 | Location: Nyköping, Sweden

Vomb Church

Vomb Church was built around the year 1200 and vaults were added in the late 1400s. Mural paintings date from 13th and 15th centuries. The current tower was erected in a restoration made by Helgo Zettervall in 1871. Baptismal font, made of limestone, dates from the 13th century. The pulpit and sculptures of Apostles were made in the 16th century.
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Veberöd, Sweden

Hejnum Church

The Romanesque tower is the oldest part of Hejnum Church. It originally formed part of a Romanesque church, but the nave and choir were replaced during the mid-13th century by the presently visible, more Gothic parts. Remains of the original church were discovered during an excavation in 1914. A runic inscription above the western portal of the tower bears the inscription 'Botvid master mason'. The church remain ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hejnum, Sweden

Lojsta Church

The Romanesque choir and nave of Lojsta Church were probably built in the mid-1200s. The tower was replaced with the present one in the 14th century. The baptismal font was made probably in the 12th century, stained glass in 13th century, wall paintings 13th –16th century. The pulpit date from the 1600s and it was repainted in 1749.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Hemse, Sweden

Östra Vemmenhög Church

The original Östra (East) Vemmenhög church was built in the 1100s. The chapel was added in 1580 for many of the near Dybäck castle owners are buried there. The church was enlarged in 1743 and got its present appearance in 1860. The font, made of sandstone, date from the 12th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Skurup, Sweden

Norra Sandsjö Church

Norra Sandsjö church was originally built in the late 1100s. It has been enlarged later in the Middle Ages and again in the 1600s. The tower collapsed in 1635 and replaced with external bell tower. The Baroque-style interior is mainly from the early 18th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Nässjö, Sweden

Östra Eneby Church

Östra Eneby church nave was built first around 1200, but arches were added in the 14th century. In the Great Northern War (1719) Russian soldiers burnt it down. The middle nave was rebuilt 1727-1733 and the tower few years later. There are still some medieval frescoes visible in arches.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Norrköping, Sweden

Skårby Church

‎Skårby Church was built in the mid-1100s. The first record of donations for the new church was dated to 1145. The medieval construction is well-preserved, only small changes and additions have been made between 1300s-1500s and in the early 1700s. The interior is covered with significant mural paintings. The bleacher date from the 17th century, the altar was made by Matthias Stenberg in 1734 and the pulpit was ...
Founded: ca. 1150 | Location: Ystad, Sweden

Alunda Church

Alunda Church originates from the 1200s and it was enlarged in 1400s. It was badly damaged by fire in 1542 and 1715. The ruins were left to decay until the reconstruction made in 1780-1787. The font is the main item of inventory retained from medieval times. There are also the remains of medieval frescoes made in 1465. The altarpiece is from 1862 painted by Johan Zacharius Blackstadius.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Östhammar, Sweden

Anga Church

Anga church, built in the 1200s, is one of the smallest in Gotland. The interior is richly decorated by master Halvard. The altar date from the 14th century and triumph cruficix from the 15th century. The pulpi was made in the late 1600s. There is a runic inscription in the northern wall listing peasants, who worked in the construction.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Katthammarsvik, Sweden

Maglarp Church

Maglarp Church was built around 1200 and is one of the oldest brick churches in Sweden. Arhaeological evidences reveal that there has been probably a stave church on the church site before. Maglarp Church medieval exterior is very well-preserved. The oldest inventory is a font dating from the 1200s. The crucifix is also medieval from the 1400s. The beautiful Renaissance pulpit from 1568 is the oldest in Scania region.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

São Jorge Castle

São Jorge Castle is a Moorish castle occupying a commanding hilltop overlooking the historic centre of the Portuguese city of Lisbon and Tagus River. The strongly fortified citadel dates from medieval period of Portuguese history, and is one of the main tourist sites of Lisbon.

Although the first fortifications on this hilltop date from the 2nd century BC, archaeological excavations have identified a human presence in the Tagus valley as far back as the 6th century BC. The first fortification was, presumably, erected in 48 BC, when Lisbon was classified as a Roman municipality.

The hill was first used by indigenous Celtic tribes, then by Phoenicians, Greeks, and Carthaginians as a defensible outpost that was later expropriated by Roman, Suebic, Visigothic, and Moorish peoples. During the 10th century, the fortifications were rebuilt by Muslim Berber forces, these included the walls or Cerca Moura ("Moorish Encirclement").

Kingdom

In the context of the Christian Reconquista, the castle and the city of Lisbon were freed from Moorish rule in 1147 by Afonso Henriques and northern European knights in the Siege of Lisbon during the Second Crusade; this victory was the only notable success of that failed crusade. According to an oft-repeated legend, the knight Martim Moniz, noticing that one of the doors to the castle was open, prevented the Moors from closing it by throwing his own body into the breach, thus allowing Christian soldiers to enter at the cost of his own life. With the taking of the castle Christian forces were able to maintain the defense of Lisbon until the end of the 12th century.

When Lisbon became the capital of the kingdom in 1255, the castle served as the alcáçova, a fortified residence for Afonso III, in his role as governor. It was extensively renovated around 1300 by King Denis I, transforming the Moorish alcáçova into the Royal Palace of the Alcáçova. Between 1373 and 1375, King Ferdinand I ordered the building of the Cerca Nova or Cerca Fernandina, the walled compound that enclosed the entirety of the castle. The master builders João Fernandes and Vasco Brás were responsible for its construction. This wall, which partially replaced the old Moorish walls, was designed to encircle previously unprotected parts of the city. Completed in two years, it had 77 towers and a perimeter of 5,400 metres.

The castle and the city resisted the forces of Castile several times during the 14th century (notably in 1373 and in 1383–1384). It was during this period (the late 14th century) that the castle was dedicated to Saint George by King John I, who had married the English princess Philippa of Lancaster. Saint George, the warrior-saint, was normally represented slaying a dragon, and very was popular in both countries.

From this point onward many of the kingdom's records were housed in the Torre de Ulisses, also known as the Torre Albarrã, until the reign of Manuel I. The Portuguese National Archive is still referred to as the Torre do Tombo. Between 1448 and 1451, the master builder was paid several stipends for his work on the palace. These public works continued until 1452, with additional payments being made for labor and materials to convert the building from a fortified castle to a royal residence.

Around the early 16th century, following the construction of the Ribeira Palace beside the Tagus river, the Palace of Alcáçova began to lose its importance. An earthquake occurring in 1531 further damaged the old castle, contributing further to its decay and neglect. In 1569, King Sebastian ordered the rebuilding of the royal apartments in the castle, intending to use it as his official residence. As part of the rebuilding, in 1577 Filippo Terzi demolished one of the towers near the principal facade of the Church of Loreto. However, many of the works were never completed after the young king's apparent death during the Battle of Alcácer Quibir. The following Portuguese dynastic crisis opened the way for sixty years of Spanish rule and the castle was converted into military barracks and a prison. On 30 December 1642, Teodósio de Frias the Younger was appointed master builder to continue the works begun by his father, Luís de Frias, and his grandfather, Teodósio de Frias. This was part of a greater plan by the Spanish forces to recommission the fortification.

However, after Portugal regained its independence following the Portuguese Restoration War, the works were taken over by the Portuguese government. On 6 November 1648, Nicolau de Langres was called upon to take over the design, execution and construction of a new fortification that would surround the Castle of São Jorge and the city walls of Lisbon. In 1650 the military architect Mateus do Couto was named master builder of the project and reconstruction took on a new formality: although the military engineer João Gillot built new walls in 1652, construction again followed Couto's plans between 1657 and 1733. In 1673, the Soldiers' Hospital, dedicated to São João de Deus, was installed on the grounds beside the Rua do Recolhimento. At the end of the 17th century the Recolhimento do Castelo was constructed along the southeast angle of the courtyard, and in 1733, new projects were initiated by master Custódio Vieira.

The 1755 Lisbon earthquake severely damaged the castle and contributed to its continuing decay: apart from the walls of the old castle, the soldier's hospital and the Recolhimento were left in ruins. The necessity of maintaining a supporting military force within the capital city required expansion of the site's role of garrison and presidio. From 1780 to 1807, the charitable institution Casa Pia, dedicated to the education of poor children, was established in the citadel, while soldiers continued to be garrisoned on site. Inspired by the events of the earthquake and the following tsunami, the first geodetic observatory in Portugal was constructed in 1788 at the top of one of the towers of the castle, later referred to as the Torre do Observatório.

Republic

As part of the commemorative celebrations marking the foundation of nationhood and restoration of independence, the government of António de Oliveira Salazar initiated extensive renovations at the site. Most of the incongruous structures added to the castle compound in previous centuries were demolished and there was a partial restoration of the Recolhimento. In addition, on 25 October 1947, a monument dedicated to Afonso Henriques, presented by the city of Porto, of a replica created by Soares dos Reis (in 1887) was installed on the grounds.