Medieval churches in Sweden

Revinge Church

Revinge Church was built around the year 1200 and enlarged in the 1400s with a tower and porch. There are some mural paintings survived from the Middle Ages. The pulpit was made around 1600. It was painted as brown in 1870, but restored to the original appearance in 1950.
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Södra Sandby, Sweden

Barsebäck Church

The nave of Barsebäck Church was built in the 1100s and the tower in 1300s. The church was enlarged in the 15th century. The baptismal font and iron parts of the door date from the original church. The pulpit was probably made in 1637.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Barsebäck, Sweden

Gumlösa Church

According the first written record Gumlösa Church was inaugurated by archbishop Absalon of Lund in 1191. It is the oldest church in the Nordic countries built of brick. The vaulting and the tower were built already to the original church, which has been very unusual. The top of the tower was added in the 14th century. Due the documents there were even 96 relics in Gumlösa church in the Middle Ages. The font, ma ...
Founded: 1191 | Location: Vinslöv, Sweden

Stångby Church

Stångby Church dates from the 12th century and consists of a half-round apsis, nave, choirs and tower. It was rebuilt in the 19th century by C. G. Brunius and the porch was demolished. The tower was erected in 1869-1870 and the middle nave was then enlarged.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Stångby, Sweden

Stora Råby Church

The first stave church in Stora Råby lied probably on the same site as the current one, stone church from the 13th century. The porch and was added in the 1400s and the tower was reconstructed in 1770s. Windows were extended in 1773 and in 1843 C. G. Brunius restored the church. The baptismal font, made of sandstone, dates from the 13th century. The pulpit was made in 1909.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Lund, Sweden

Degeberga Church

Degeberga Church was built in the end of 12th century and it consisted of nave, choir and apse. The tower and vaults were added in the early 1400s. The tower is survived, but the other exterior dates mainly from the restoration made in the 1860s. The unique detail in the church is a pulpit, which was donated to Degeberga already in 1592.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Degeberga, Sweden

Röstånga Church

Röstånga stone church was built around 1200. The small tower was added in 1813 and the church was enlarged in 1832. The medieval porch was replaced with a new one in 1715. Inside the church the sandstone font dates from the Middle ages.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Röstånga, Sweden

Yttergran Church

Yttergran granite church dates from the late 1100s and it is the smallest one in the diocese. The church had originally no tower, although one was added relatively early in the 13th century. The interior decoration dates mainly from about 1480, when famous medieval master Albertus Pictor painted murals. The paintings are in a good condition and are well worth seeing.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bålsta, 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

Tidersrum Church

Tidersrum old church is one of the Sweden"s oldest and oddest wooden churches. It was built originally around the year 1260 of timber with very sharp dimensions and seamlessly. The red colored timberbuilding is covered with patterns of global wood chips. The vestry is built of stone and white limestone. Tidersrum church has a sculpture of St. Olav, once a great figure of popular devotion throughout Scandinavia, whic ...
Founded: c. 1260 | Location: Tidersrum, 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

Rinkaby Church

Rinkaby Church, made of brick, dates probably from the mid-1200s. The most interesting detail are rich mural paintings in vaults. Frescoes were done by so-called Vittskövle master or his students in the 15th century. The paintings describe year seasons in peasant"s life. The pulpit dates from the 17th century.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Rinkaby, Sweden

Ramdala Church

The Romanesque Ramdala Church, built in the mid-1200s, is the only survived medieval church in East Blekinge. It had originally also a defensive purpose; the church had probably two towers with loopholes. The another tower was demolished in th 16th century. The most significant detail Ramdala church is a decorated and gilded pulpit, which is a gift from Kristian IV of Denmark (1637). The altarpiece dates from 1624.
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Ramdala, Sweden

Bärbo Church

Bärbo Church was built around 1200. Although it has been enlarged in the 15th and 18th centuries, it is still one of the smallest in the Södermanland region. The belfry dates from 17th century and was restored around 1740. The font is original from the early 1200s. Also the chandelier and triptych dates from the late Middle Ages. The pulpit was carved ion 1640. The unique detail is also a gallery for nobles, add ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Nyköping, Sweden

Skalunda Church

Skalunda Church might be built in the late 100s or around 1140. It is anyway one of the oldest in the region. The sandstone church has Anglo-Saxon features, and it is possible that it was built by unkown English or Norwegian missionaries. The porch and sacristy were added in the 15th century as well as vaults. The belfry dates from 1772. There are also two runestones in the churchyard.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Skalunda, Sweden

Strö Church

The nave of Strö Church was built in the 12th century and arches were added probably in the same time with tower in the 15th century. The pulpit dates probably from the late 1500s. There is a runestone attached in tower wall.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Strö, 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

Gillstad Church

Gillstad Church dates from the 12th century, but the current exterior is mainly from the 1700s; in 1702 part of the wall collapsed and the church was rebuilt.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Gillstad, Sweden

Rimbo Church

Rimbo Church was built in the late 1400s. It is well-known for its finely mural paintings made around the year 1500. There is also a font (13th century) and crucifix (c. 1275) dating from the earlier church.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Rimbo, 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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

The Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte is a baroque French château built between 1658-1661 for Nicolas Fouquet. It was made for Marquis de Belle Île, Viscount of Melun and Vaux, the superintendent of finances of Louis XIV, the château was an influential work of architecture in mid-17th century Europe. At Vaux-le-Vicomte, the architect Louis Le Vau, the landscape architect André le Nôtre, and the painter-decorator Charles Le Brun worked together on a large-scale project for the first time. Their collaboration marked the beginning of the 'Louis XIV style' combining architecture, interior design and landscape design. The garden's pronounced visual axis is an example of this style.

To secure the necessary grounds for the elaborate plans for Vaux-le-Vicomte’s garden and castle, Fouquet purchased and demolished three villages. The displaced villagers were then employed in the upkeep and maintenance of the gardens. It was said to have employed eighteen thousand workers and cost as much as 16 million livres. The château and its patron became for a short time a focus for fine feasts, literature and arts. The poet La Fontaine and the playwright Molière were among the artists close to Fouquet. At the inauguration of Vaux-le-Vicomte, a Molière play was performed, along with a dinner event organized by François Vatel, and an impressive firework show.

After Fouquet was arrested and imprisoned for life, and his wife exiled, Vaux-le-Vicomte was placed under sequestration. The king seized, confiscated or purchased 120 tapestries, the statues, and all the orange trees from Vaux-le-Vicomte. He then sent the team of artists (Le Vau, Le Nôtre and Le Brun) to design what would be a much larger project than Vaux-le-Vicomte, the palace and gardens of Versailles.

The Marshal Villars became the new owner without first seeing the chateau. In 1764, the Marshal's son sold the estate to the Duke of Praslin, whose descendants would maintain the property for over a century. It is sometimes mistakenly reported that the château was the scene of a murder in 1847, when duke Charles de Choiseul-Praslin, killed his wife in her bedroom, but this did not happen at Vaux-le-Vicomte but at the Paris residence of the Duke.

In 1875, after thirty years of neglect, the estate was sold to Alfred Sommier in a public auction. The château was empty, some of the outbuildings had fallen into ruin, and the famous gardens were totally overgrown. The huge task of restoration and refurbishment began under the direction of the architect Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur, assisted by the landscape architect Elie Lainé. When Sommier died in 1908, the château and the gardens had recovered their original appearance. His son, Edme Sommier, and his daughter-in-law completed the task. Today, his descendants continue to preserve the château, which remains privately owned by Patrice and Cristina de Vogüé, the Count and Countess de Vogüé. It is now administered by their three sons Alexandre, Jean-Charles and Ascanio de Vogüé. Recognized by the state as a monument historique, it is open to the public regularly.

Architecture

The chateau is situated near the northern end of a 1.5-km long north-south axis with the entrance front facing north. Its elevations are perfectly symmetrical to either side of this axis. Somewhat surprisingly the interior plan is also nearly completely symmetrical with few differences between the eastern and western halves. The two rooms in the center, the entrance vestibule to the north and the oval salon to the south, were originally an open-air loggia, dividing the chateau into two distinct sections. The interior decoration of these two rooms was therefore more typical of an outdoor setting. Three sets of three arches, those on the entrance front, three more between the vestibule and the salon, and the three leading from the salon to the garden are all aligned and permitted the arriving visitor to see through to the central axis of the garden even before entering the chateau. The exterior arches could be closed with iron gates, and only later were they filled in with glass doors and the interior arches with mirrored doors. Since the loggia divided the building into two halves, there are two symmetrical staircases on either side of it, rather than a single staircase. The rooms in the eastern half of the house were intended for the use of the king, those in the western were for Fouquet. The provision of a suite of rooms for the king was normal practice in aristocratic houses of the time, since the king travelled frequently.

Another surprising feature of the plan is the thickness of the main body of the building (corps de logis), which consists of two rows of rooms running east and west. Traditionally the middle of the corps de logis of French chateaux consisted of a single row of rooms. Double-thick corps de logis had already been used in hôtels particuliers in Paris, including Le Vau's Hôtel Tambonneau, but Vaux was the first chateau to incorporate this change. Even more unusual, the main rooms are all on the ground floor rather than the first floor (the traditional piano nobile). This accounts for the lack of a grand staircase or a gallery, standard elements of most contemporary chateaux. Also noteworthy are corridors in the basement and on the first floor which run the length of house providing privacy to the rooms they access. Up to the middle of the 17th century, corridors were essentially unknown. Another feature of the plan, the four pavilions, one at each corner of the building, is more conventional.

Vaux-le-Vicomte was originally planned to be constructed in brick and stone, but after the mid-century, as the middle classes began to imitate this style, aristocratic circles began using stone exclusively. Rather late in the design process, Fouquet and Le Vau switched to stone, a decision that may have been influenced by the use of stone at François Mansart's Château de Maisons. The service buildings flanking the large avant-cour to the north of the house remained in brick and stone, and other structures preceding them were in rubble-stone and plaster, a social ranking of building materials that would be common in France for a considerable length of time thereafter.

The main chateau is constructed entirely on a moated platform, reached via two bridges, both aligned with the central axis and placed on the north and south sides. The moat is a picturesque holdover from medieval fortified residences, and is again a feature that Le Vau may have borrowed from Maisons. The moat at Vaux may also have been inspired by the previous chateau on the site, which Le Vau's work replaced.

Gardens

The château rises on an elevated platform in the middle of the woods and marks the border between unequal spaces, each treated in a different way. This effect is more distinctive today, as the woodlands are mature, than it was in the seventeenth century when the site had been farmland, and the plantations were new.

Le Nôtre's garden was the dominant structure of the great complex, stretching nearly a mile and a half (3 km), with a balanced composition of water basins and canals contained in stone curbs, fountains, gravel walks, and patterned parterres that remains more coherent than the vast display Le Nôtre was to create at Versailles.

Le Nôtre created a magnificent scene to be viewed from the house, using the laws of perspective. Le Notre used the natural terrain to his advantage. He placed the canal at the lowest part of the complex, thus hiding it from the main perspectival point of view. Past the canal, the garden ascends a large open lawn and ends with the Hercules column added in the 19th century. Shrubberies provided a picture frame to the garden that also served as a stage for royal fêtes.

From the top of the grand staircase, this gives the impression that the entire garden is revealed in one single glance. Initially, the view consists of symmetrical rows of shrubbery, avenues, fountains, statues, flowers and other pieces developed to imitate nature – these elements exemplify the Baroque desire to mold nature to fit its wishes, thus using nature to imitate nature. The centerpiece is a large reflecting pool flanked by grottos holding statues in their many niches. The grand sloping lawn is not visible until one begins to explore the garden, when the viewer is made aware of the optical elements involved and discovers that the garden is much larger than it looks.