Medieval churches in Sweden

Hjortsberga Church

Hjortsberga church, built in the 1100s, is one of the oldest in Blekinge Region. The current nave ad chancel date from the early 1200s. The magnificent pulpit was made by Åke Truedsson in 1684. The altarpiece dates from 1745. Hjortsberga church is located in the middle of the Iron Age burial ground.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ronneby, Sweden

Ludgo Church

The nave of the Ludgo Church dates from the late 1200s. The chancel was enlarged and two chapels (for Drakenhielm and Sifverstjerna families) were added in 1673-1678. There are two sandstone sculptures probably from the 1400s. Two runestones from the 1000s are located to the church entrance.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Nyköping, 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

Frötuna Church

Frötuna Church was built of grey stone in the 12th century. It was extended to east between 1250–1275. The tomb dates from the mid-1600s. There are several medieval aftefacts in Frötuna church, including a triump crucifix (1275), font (1200s) and sculpture of St. Olaf (early 1300s). The pulpit was made in 1640s and the altar dates from 1773.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Norrtälje, Sweden

Kumla Church

Kumla Church was built around 1300 and included a longhouse and a small bell tower. In the end of the 15th century the wood roof was replaced by a brick star vaults. In the 18th century they made the windows bigger and built the bell tower. The church is famous for its beautiful frescoes by Albertus Pictor painted in 1482. The stained glass windows in the choir are the work of the Västerås artist Nils-Aron Berg ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Sala, Sweden

Ivetofta Church

Ivetofta Church was probably built in the 12th century, the tower (built in stone and decorated with carved sandstone) on the western side being added in the 13th century. The altar, pulpit, pews and the baptismal font were donated by Sophia Brahe in the early 17th century, who had moved to the area with her second husband and was known for her work in Danish genealogy. These features have been retained in the renovated c ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bromölla, Sweden

Skegrie Church

Skegrie church was constructed in the end of the 12th century. What remains from that time are the choir and parts of the nave. In 1844 Carl Georg Brunius made a large renovation and the west tower among other things was built. The pulpit originates from year 1611 and the baptismal font, made of oak, from 1661. There are also tin candlesticks from the beginning of the 17th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Gislöv Church

Gislöv Church chancel and naves dates back to the 1200s, and the tower was built in stages between the years 1760-1824. The original font descends from year 1656 and is the oldest inventory in the church. In year 1936 the vaults were reconstructed. They are richly decorated with frescoes and date from the 15th and 16th centuries. The renovation restored the church almost entirely in the condition it had been 500 year ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Gylle Church

Gylle Church dates from the late 1100s, but it has been reconstructed several times. The tower was erected in the 1400s or early 1500s. The nave was rebuilt in 1875. The altar and pulpit date from the 1500s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Hejdeby Church

Hejdeby Church was built in the 13th century, the choir and nave first (in late Romanesque style) and the tower later (showing early Gothic influences). The interior of the church is richly decorated with medieval frescos. These date from two periods: the oldest are from the 13th century and depict apostles, the crowning of Mary, and various saints. The other set of frescos date from the 15th century and depict scenes fro ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Visby, Sweden

Vist Church

Vists Church was probably built in the 1200s according the dating in baptismal font. It was restored and the tower added in 1891-93. The crucifix dates from the 1600s and bells from the 1700s (the smaller one from 1704 is probably a war trophy from Poland). The altar was made in 1939 by Gunnar Torhamn.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ulricehamn, Sweden

Norra Björke Church

Norra Björke Church was probably built in the early 1400s. It was enlarged in 1754 and the tower was demolished in 1817. The font dates from the 13th century and the altar from 1772. It is probably painted by master Nubbe in Gothenburg.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Trollhättan, Sweden

Skörstorp Church

Skörstorp Church was built in the middle of the 12th century, and is the only remaining medieval round church in the Diocese of Skara. It derives its shape from originally being built to serve several different purposes; apart from a place of worship, it also served a defensive purpose, i.e. it was a fortified church. The church has been altered successively throughout the centuries. The church porch is not original tho ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Falköping, Sweden

Fleringe Church

Fleringe Church dates from the 13th century, and the nave and choir are the oldest parts. Somewhat later during the same century the tower was added. The church has not been substantially altered since, but suffered damage in a heavy fire in 1676. The church is located in a cemetery surrounded by a low wall in which a remaining medieval lychgate still sits. Outside, the church stables still stand, which is uncommon. The ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Fleringe, Sweden

Hellvi Church

The choir portal of Hellvi Church carries a runic inscription which proclaims that a man called Lafrans Botvidarson built the church. The oldest part of the church is the tower, Romanesque in style. The upper part of the tower collapsed following a storm in 1534, hence its unusual shape. The nave and choir date from the middle of the 13th century and display an early form of Gothic style. The nave consists of two aisles, ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hellvi, 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

Vallstena Church

The western part of the nave and the church tower are the oldest parts of the asymmetrical Vallstena church. They date from the early 13th century. A new chancel arch was built at the middle of the same century, and around circa 1300 the new choir was built. Reconstruction of the nave also started around this time; the original plan seems to have been to replace the entire nave with a new, larger nave but for some reason ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Vallstena, Sweden

Ekeby Church

The oldest part of Ekeby Church is the Romanesque tower, dating from the end of the 12th century. The nave and choir were built around a century later in Gothic style. The tower was also heightened to its present height at the end of the 13th century. Most notable in the exterior of the church are the two southern portals, which are richly decorated with stone carvings. These were originally painted, and fragments of co ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ekeby, Sweden

Räpplinge Church

Räpplinge church was originally built in the middle of the 12th century, but rebuilt and widened as late as 1802. The votive ship in Räpplinge church is the most authentic in the churches of Öland. It date back to the middle of the 17th century and surprisingly well preserved even though it has demonstrably been in the church since 1692. The model is of a three-masted naval ship with 42 cannons on the gun d ...
Founded: ca. 1150 | Location: Borgholm, Öland, Sweden

Jumkil Church

The medieval church of Jumkil was originally built in the early 13th century. The vaulting was made in the 16th century and detached bell tower was added in the mid-18th century. There are wooden sculptures and triumphal crucifix from the 16th century. Baptismal font is from the 12th century, made of Gotland sandstone, with many carved motifs, such as the birth of Jesus and the adoration of the Three Wise Men. The medieva ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.