Medieval churches in Sweden

Källunge Church

Källunge church (Källunge kyrka) is a church in the island-bishopric of Visby on Gotland. The church is richly decorated with reliefs and frescoes. The frescoes are important evidence of the strong Byzantine influence on Swedish art of the 12th and 13th centuries. An early depiction of a nyckelharpa is found in a relief dating from circa 1350 on one of the gates of the church. The church gives its name to the K ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Visby, Sweden

Balkåkra Church Ruins

Balkåkra stone church was built around 1200. It was abandoned in 1867 when Marsvinholm church was completed. The restoration was done in the 20th century. Today it is occasionally used for worship services.
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Ystad, Sweden

Löderup Church

The oldest parts of Löderup Church date from the 12th century. The defensive tower and vaulting were probably added in the 15th century. The major restoration was done in 1860s. The oldest artefact in the church is the font which was made around 1160. The pulpit date from 1604.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ystad, 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

Älvkarleby Church

The nave of Älvkarleby Church was built between 1478-1490. It was enlarged in 1690-1702 and the post-medieval sacristy was also replaced with a new one. The spire was removed in 1829. The altar screen, from 1490, features an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The church also has several extremely well preserved medieval frescoes, including some of angels, which are well worth seeing.
Founded: 1478-1490 | Location: Älvkarleby, Sweden

Flen Church

The oldest parts of Flen Church date from the 13th century. The choir was added in the 17th century, probably in 1664 and the new sacristy in 1746. Baptismal font is the oldest item in Flen church, dating from the 12th century. There are also few other medieval artefacts, like crucifix from the 14th century. The pulpit was donated by Brita Ribbing-Rosenhane in 1664 and it was originally painted in black and white. The pr ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Flen, Sweden

Håstad Church

Håstad Church was built in the 1200s in Gothic style. The tower was added later in the Middle Ages. It remained untouched until 1861, when it was restored by the design of C. G. Brunius. The font and wooden sculptures date from the 16th century. The triptych is also medieval. The altarpiece was painted by Justus Lundsgård on 1930.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Lund, Sweden

Rinkaby Church

The oldest parts of Rinkaby church were completed probably in the late 1100s. It was enlarged to the west and the sacristy was added sometimes in the 1200s or early 1300s. The vaulting was added in the late 1400s and the chapel in 1620. The major restoration was made 1779-1780 and in 1839 the current tower replaced the medieval one.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Örebro, Sweden

Hossmo Church

The first church built in Hossmo was most likely a wooden one. Coffins found show that there was probably a church here already in the 11th century. The construction of that church has been linked to the royal court or a powerful local family. Hossmo is considered to have been the centre of a region in the late Iron Age or early Middle Ages. The church was probably built as a royal demesne or a church for a powerful leade ...
Founded: c. 1120 | Location: Ljungbyholm, Sweden

Hälsingtuna Church

Hälsingtuna Church was built in the late 1100s, but enlarged several times. Among medieval wooden sculptures the Baroque pulpit dates from 1665 and altar from 1680. There are two runestones in the churchyard; another one, so-called Hälsingtunastenen is probably the biggest in Sweden.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Hudiksvall, Sweden

Hög Church

Hög Church was originally built around the year 1190. Later it was enlarged to west and between 1702-1703 also the east. There are several medieval wooden sculptures in the church, for example a triptych made in 1471. The pulpit was moved to Hög Church in 1671.
Founded: c. 1190 | Location: Hudiksvall, 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

Tingstäde Church

A wooden church was built on the site of the current one in Tingstäde during the early 12th century. The church has later been replaced by first a Romanesque church, of which the portals survive, and later once more rebuilt in Gothic style during the 13th and 14th centuries. Few alterations have been made to the church since. The church was one of three so-called asylum churches on Gotland during the Middle Ages, a ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Tingstäde, Sweden

Foss Church

Foss church is first time mentioned in 1157, but it has been reconstructed several times. The tower dates from the 1870s. The altarpiece was painted by Pehr Hörberg in 1700s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Munkedal, Sweden

Grönby Church

Grönby church nave was built in the 1100s. The tower was built first in 1400s and again in 1741. In the middle of the 1800s the church was enlarged. The vaults are decorated with beautiful paintings from the 1350s. The altar and pulpit originate from the 1600s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Anderslöv, Sweden

Äspö Church

Äspö Church was built around 1200. It was much smaller than the current church reconstructed in the 19th and 20th centuries. The original nave is however survived. The tower was added in 1854. There are two original mural paintings survived, made by so-called Everlöv Master in the second half of 1400s. The triumph crucifix dates from c. 1400 and pulpit from 1598.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Väne-Åsaka Church

The oldest parts of Väne-Åsaka Church date probably from the 1100s. The bell tower was added in 1836. The oldest inventory is a font dating probably from the 13th century. The pulpit was made in 1720 and altar in 1735.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Trollhättan, Sweden

Kungs-Barkarö Church

Kungs-Barkarö granite church with brick features and wooden vaults was built at the end of the 13th century. A few 15th century murals are still visible in the vault. This small church, in fact the smallest one in the diocese, holds just 100 people. The church bell is from the 13th century and the crucifix is from the 1360s. Guided tours can be arranged for groups. Please contact the parish registrar’s office.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Kungsör, Sweden

Väskinde Church

Väskinde church choir was built slightly after 1250, followed by the nave and church tower in circa 1280. The church has remained largely unaltered since the Middle Ages. The church is Gothic in style. Noteworthy is the southern, sculptured portal of the choir. Its rich ornamentation is unusual for Gotland and seems to reflect an influence from Westphalian churches. Väskinde Church also houses some notable fittings. Th ...
Founded: 1250 | Location: Väskinde, Sweden

Almunge Church

Almunge church was built in the 13th century and extended to the east in the 1660’s. The bell tower was added in the 16th century. Inside the church the most interesting artefacts are the imposing altar retable from 1717 and distinguished pulpit from 1716 made by Carl Spaak. Baptismal font of limestone was made in the 13th century and frescoes by Albertus Pictor in 1490s.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of the Savior on Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.

Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.

In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.