Medieval churches in Sweden

Arbrå Church

The late-medieval church of Arbrå was built probably around the year 1500. It was badly damaged by fire in 1635. The church was enlarged to north and south between 1753-1754 and the present sacristy was added also after that. The bell tower date from the year 1630. The mural paintings date from the 16th century. The pulpit was made in 1780s after the previous one was donated to Alfta Church.
Founded: ca. 1500 | Location: Arbrå, Sweden

Edebo Church

The present stone church was built during the second half of 1400s, but the vestry may date from the 1200s. The church is decorated with well-preserved frescoes made by so-called "Edebo master". Paintings depict events from the Old and New Testament. The porch was built in 1514. A bell tower stands on the other side of the highway northwest of the church. The large bell was cast in 1625.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Norrtälje, Sweden

Skå church

The nave of Romanescue-style Skå church was built probably in the late 1100s. It was enlarged to to east and the sacristy was added in the 14th century. The church was completely restored in 1695 but destroyed by fire only couple of days after the inauguration. The new restoration began immediatelly and it was completed in 1702. The present tower was added in 1868.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ekerö, 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

Veckholm Church

Veckholm Church was built in the late 13th century and the sacristy and porch were added in 1400s. The chancel was added in the 1500s and the magnificent tomb of famous de la Gardie family in the 1600s. The font of Veckholm church date from the 12th century and the altar was made in Brussels around 1500. The pulpit has been donated by Johan Pontusson de la Gardie.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Enköping, Sweden

Litslena Church

Litslena church was completed in the 1100s and consisted of a rectangular nave, sacristy and porch. The present exterior date mainly from the 14th century. The current porch was added in the 1400s. The mural paintings, made around 1470 by unknown master, are well-preserved (particurarly original colours). The fine altar was carved in Lübeck around 1480. The font dates from the 1100s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ekolsund, Sweden

Gökhem Church

Gökhem Church was built in the late 1100s or early 1200s. The church is a typical medieval building, built in the Romanesque period. It is best known of mural paintings made by master Amund in the 15th century. The original organs were built in the 1775. The belfry was erected by Russian prisoners of war in 1720.
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Falköping, Sweden

Marka Church

The Romanescue style Marka Church was built in the late 1100s or early 1200s. The sacristy was added later in the Middle Ages. The original tower was demolished in 1750 and the new wooden belfry was completed in 1752. The great bell date from the year 1583 and the small one from 1751. The altarpiece date from the late 17th century as well as the Baroque-style pulpit.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Falköping, Sweden

Svartrå Church

Svartrå church. One of Halland’s most beautiful churches, was probably built in the late 12th century. It was enlarged in the 1th century and the new chapel was added in 1757. The wooden belfry was added in 1772. The interior is characterized from the 18th century with beautiful Rococo roof paintings. The oldest item is a font made around 1200. The tabernacle date from the 16th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Falkenberg, Sweden

Asige Church

Asige church was probably built during the 12th century but has been extended and rebuilt until 1890. The interior is characterized by Neoclassicism. The triumph crucifix date from the 1200s, the rest of interior is date from the 19th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Slöinge, Sweden

Teda Church

Teda Church was originally built around the year 1200 and enlarged strongly about 100 years later. The star-shape vaulting was made in the 1500s. The mural paintings were made in two phases in the early 1600s. The chapel was addded in 1680s for Arvid Ivarsson Natt och Dag. The oldest item in the church is a font made in the Middle Ages. There is a date 1644 carved to the pulpit. The organs and benches date from the 18th ...
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Enköping, Sweden

Valö Church

The greystone church of Valö was built in the late 1300s and renovated in the next century. This is a fascinating church to visit, since it has scarcely been altered structurally since the Middle Ages, and contains much interesting inventory from before the Reformation. This includes a processional crucifix from the 15th century and several medieval sculptures. There is also a fine medieval triptych, unusual for a ch ...
Founded: late 1300s | Location: Östhammar, Sweden

Vika Church

Vika Church was built partially in the 13th century and mainly reconstructed to the late Gothic appearance in the late 1400s. The church includes frescos from the 16th century with motifs taken from the Gospels. It also contains carved statues in wood from the 13th and 15th centuries. The 16th century baptismal font is a copy of the one in Storkyrkan (Stockholm Cathedral).
Founded: 13th century | Location: Falun, 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

Västra Nöbbelöv Church

The Church of Västra Nöbbelöv originates from the 12th century. Some parts were added in the 19th century. The church is known for its unique acoustic resonators. The frescoes painted in the 14th century are also an interesting detail. The Västra Nöbbelöv Runestone, listed as DR 278 in the Rundata catalog, is located to the churchyard.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Skivarp, Sweden

Sjörup Old Church

The old church of Sjörup waas built between 1150-1170 by “stone master Carl”. The tower and sacristy were added around 1270. The church was left to decay in the 19th century when it was noted to be too small. The restoration was started in 20th century. There is a rune stone called Sjörupstenen in the churchyard, dating from the 10th century.
Founded: 1150-1170 | Location: Ystad, Sweden

Barkåkra Church

Barkåkra Church was originally built in the 12th century. It was fully restored in the 19th century. The older pieces, including the Baptismal font, are from the early 12th century. The retable by David Jastro dates from the 18th Century. The painted glass in the nave was made by Randi Fisher and Ralph Bergholtz.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ängelholm, Sweden

Tåssjö Church

The walls of Tåssjö church date probably from the 13th century. It was reconstructed in 1850-1860s. The font, made of sandstone, date from the 13th and pulpit from the 18th century. The altarpiece was donated by council Carl Henrik Roth in 1842. There is also a medieval wooden sculpture, carved probably in the 15th century.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Munka-Ljungby, Sweden

Gödelöv Church

Gödelöv Church was probably built in the 1200s and the tower was added in the next century. The last restoration was made in 1905. The pulpit was made in 1580 and altar also dates from the 16th century. The font, made in the Middle Ages, has been brought from Östra Tunhem church.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Genarp, Sweden

Rolfstorp Church

The nave of Rolfstorp Church was built in the 1200s in Romanesque style. In 17th century the church was enlarged and the current tower was added in 1926. It replaced the earlier wooden belfry. The interior is decorated with medieval mural paintings, dating from from the 14th and 15th centuries.The Baroque-style altarpiece dates from 1655 and is made by master Jonas Abilla. The pulpit was also made in 1655. The stone-made ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Rolfstorp, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Wawel Castle

Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Kraków, have provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century. Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight. Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislane tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Miesco I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslas the Brave (992-1025) and Miesco II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.

At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Kraków was established in the year 1000.

During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Kraków was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Kraków along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.

In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill. Around that time, at the initiative of Ladislas the Short, the construction of the third Gothic cathedral began, the castle was expanded and the old wooden and earthen fortifications were replaced by brick ones. The tomb of Ladislas the Short in the cathedral started a royal necropolis of Polish kings in Krakow.The last descendant of the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370) brought Wawel to a state of unprecedented splendour. In 1364 the expanded gothic castle witnessed the marriage of Casimir’s granddaughter Elizabeth to Charles IV accompanied by a famous convention of kings and princes, subsequently entertained by a rich burgher Wierzynek. The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel. The royal court employed local and western European artists and also Rus painters. During the reign of Casimir Jagiellon (1447-1492) the silhouette of the hill was enriched by three high brick towers: the Thieves’ Tower, the Sandomierz Tower and the Senatorial Tower. The first humanists in Poland and tutors to the king’s sons: historian Jan Długosz and an Italian by the name Filippo Buonacorsi (also known as Callimachus) worked there at that time.

The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Sigismund’s patronage also left an indelible impression in the cathedral, where a family chapel was erected, known today as Sigismund’s Chapel - the work of Bartolomeo of Berrecci Florence, and through various foundations, one of which was that of a large bell, called the Sigismund to commemorate the king. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza. Alongside Italian artists, German architects, wood workers, painters and metal smiths worked for the king. The last descendant of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), enriched the castle’s interiors with a magnificent collection of tapestries woven in Brussels. In the “Golden Age” of Polish culture Wawel became one of the main centres of humanism in Europe.

The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style. The relocation of the royal court to Warsaw was the cause of a slow but nevertheless steady deterioration in the castle’s condition. The monarchs visited Kraków only occasionally. Restoration of the castle was undertaken during the reign of John III Sobieski, the Wettins and Stanislas Augustus to counteract neglect.

After Poland had lost its independence in 1795, the troops of partitioning nations, Russia, Prussia and Austria, subsequently occupied Wawel which finally passed into the hands of the Austrians. The new owners converted the castle and some of the secular buildings into a military hospital, and demolished some others, including churches. After the period of the Free City of Kraków (1815-1846) Wawel was once more annexed by Austria and turned into a citadel dominating the city. By the resolution passed by the Seym of Galicia in 1880, the castle was presented as a residence to the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I. The Austrian troops left the hill between 1905-1911. At the turn of the 20th century a thorough restoration of the cathedral was conducted, and shortly afterwards a process of restoration of the royal castle began which lasted several decades.

When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the castle served as an official residence of the Head of State, and as a museum of historic interiors. During the Nazi occupation the castle was the residence of the German governor general, Hans Frank. Polish people managed to remove the most valuable objects, including the tapestries and the “Szczerbiec” coronation sword to Canada, from where they returned as late as 1959-1961. At present, the main curators of Wawel are Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection and the Metropolitan Basilica Board on Wawel Hill.