Medieval churches in Sweden

Kungs-Husby Church

Kungs-Husby Church date from the 14th century and it was enlarged between 1755-57. The medieval frescoes in walls were overpainted in the 18th century, but restored in 1859. The triumph crucifix (made in the 1200s) date probably from the elder wooden church. The limestone madonna statue was made in Rheinland around the year 1340. The Gustavian Classicism style pulpit was carved in 1789 by J. C. Krüger.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Enköping, Sweden

Hedeskoga Church

Hedeskoga Church was built in the mid-1100s, probably by local stone master Carl. The tower was added in the 15th century. The tympanum in a south portal is a unique detail. The pulpit date from 1652 and altar from 1714. The great bell has a mark "1471".
Founded: ca. 1150 | Location: Ystad, Sweden

Etelhem Church

The oldest part of the Etelhem Church is a tower, built in the beginning of 1200s. The nave and choir were built around 1300 and sacristy added in 1600s. The interior is decorated with mural paintings made in the 1400s. The well-preserved stained glass in choir window dates from the 1300s. The font was made of sandstone in the late 1100s and wooden crucifix was carved in 1300s. The pulpit dates from 1648 and altar from 16 ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Stånga, Sweden

Fardhem Church

The current Romanesque church in Fardhem was built originally in the late 1100s and it is one of the oldest churches in Gotland. The nave was built in c. 1200 and tower in late 1200s. The sacristy dates from restoration made in 1871-1872. The font pedestal is the oldest inventory in the church, dating from the 1100s. The pulpit was made in 1720 and organs in 1899.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Hemse, Sweden

Rö Church

The oldest parts of Rö church dates from the late 1200s. Somethimes around 1475 brick arches were added to the roof. The church was badly damaged by fire in late 1500s or early 1600s. The most interesting detail is a Madonna sculpture made probably in England around the year 1200. The font originates also from the same ages and other sculptures and cruficix from 1400s.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Rimbo, Sweden

Vickleby Church

The oldest parts of Vickleby church date from the mid-1100s. the tower, also built for defensive purposes, was completed around 1200. Vickleby church (as well as other churches nearby) were heavily damaged by Danish army in 1677. The eastern part and apsis were rebuilt in 1778. The interior date mainly from the 18th century, like the altar (1778) and pulpit (1763). The stone-made babtismal font was made for the original ...
Founded: ca. 1150 | Location: Färjestaden, Sweden

Bjäresjö Church

Bjäresjö Church was built in the mid-1100s. The new nave was added in 1760 and it was enlarged in 1892. The church is very attractive due colourful and intricate frescoes from the Middle Ages. These have been somewhat heavily restored so that some of the detail has been lost, but the effect is still stunning and gives the visitor a real feeling of what the place would have been like hundreds of years ago. The i ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ystad, Sweden

Hällestad Church

Hällestad church was built of stone in the 12th century. It was enlarged in the 15th century and the tower was erected probably in the late Middle Ages. The church was restored and enlarged in the mid-1800s. There are mural paintings from the 1400s in the vaults, made by so-called “Vittskövle Master”. Three Viking age runestones are located to the eastern wall outside the church.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Torna-hällestad, Sweden

Västra Vemmerlöv Church

Västra Vemmerlöv church was built in 1100s in a Romanesque style. In the 1850s the church experienced a remodeling by Carl Georg Brunius. The upper parts of the tower were changed and the vaults in the nave were demolished. Late medieval frescoes are preserved in the interior. The baptismal font is made of sandstone and has sculptured lions. It originates from the early Middle Ages.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Martebo Church

The medieval church of Marterbo is well-known of its beautifully carved portals. The tower originates from the previous, Romanesque style church. The middle nave and sacristy were built in the 14th century and restored in the 19th century. The pulpit, made in the mid-1500s, is one of the oldest in Gotland. The babtismal font date from the 13th century, altar and epitaph from the late 17th century.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Tingstäde, Sweden

Övraby Church Ruins

Övraby stone church was built around the year 1100 to the site of older church. There was also a Dominican monastery nearby in or around 1260. Halmstad moved in the 1320s to its present location and the old settlement came to be known as Övraby. The Swedish army’s ravages in the 1560s during the Northern Seven Years" War meant the end of “the upper village”. The church was burned to the gr ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Halmstad, Sweden

Offerdal Church

Offerdal Church was built in the mid-1100s and it is one of the four oldest churches in Jämtland. It has been reconstructed and restored several times since the 17th century. There are several medieval details in the church including a thurible from the 13th or 14th century and the original door. The font was made in 1716.
Founded: ca. 1150 | Location: Offerdal, Sweden

Klinte Church

The oldest part of Klinte Church is the base of the tower, which is from the first half of the 13th century and built in a decidedly Romanesque style. It is the only remaining part of an earlier, Romanesque church. Around the year 1300, the choir and nave of this church was replaced by the presently visible, Gothic choir and nave. During this time the upper part of the tower was also added. Externally, the base of the to ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Klintehamn, Sweden

Fogdö Church

Fogdö Church was built in the 1100s and has wooden sculptures from that time. There was a Benedictine nunnery from 1233. The church was used both as a parish church and as a monastic one, as is testified by an inset opening in the south wall - a so-called 'nun"s window' ('nunneporten'). The quire was also widened so as better to accommodate the nuns" choral liturgy. Judging from the surv ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Strängnäs, Sweden

Hörsne Church

The first stone church in Hörsne was built in Romanesque style during the 12th century. The oldest part of present church is the tower dating from the first half of the 13th century. The rest of the Romanesque church was eventually pulled down and replaced with a Gothic main building. Thus the choir and the vestry are from the end of the 13th century, while the nave was built during the early 14th century. When the nave ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hörsne-Bara, Sweden

Simlinge Church

Simlinge Church was built around the year 1200. The bell tower was erected in 1852. The altarpiece depicts the Last supper, and the pulpit dates from year 1623.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Dannemora Church

The stone church of Dannemora was built in the late 1400s. The porch was added few decades later. The bell tower was erected in 1753. The mural paintings are well-preserved. The are couple of medieval artefacts, like crucifix in the church. The Baroque-style pulpit was carved in 1680.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Österbybruk, Sweden

Källa Old Church

There has been a wooden church in Källa since the 11th century. After it was destroyed by fire, and with increasing attacks from Baltic invaders, a new church of stone - with the aspect of a fortress - was constructed in stages was built in the 13th century. The two-storied construction, dedicated to St. Olav, was very unusual and made for defensive purposes. The Källa Church fell into disrepair when a new chur ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Löttorp, Öland, Sweden

St. Nicholas' Church

St. Nicholas’ Church (Sankt Nicolai kyrka) date from the 12th century and is the oldest in the Arborga area. It has been rebuilt several times. Originally single-nave church was extended to three-nave already in the 1200’s. The richly decorated altar is made in Lübeck in 1510. The pulpit date from 1788.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Arboga, Sweden

Sövestad Church

The choir and apse of Sövestad Church date from the 12th century. The brick vaulting and tower were added in the 15th century. The altarpiece is made of white limestone and alabaster. It was donated by Otto Marsvin and Mette Brahe (who lived in Krageholm Castle) in 1626. The crucifix and pulpit date from the 1729.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ystad, 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.