Medieval churches in Sweden

Tosterup Church

Tosterup Church was originally built in the 12th century and rebuilt in 1598. The interior is covered by wall frescoes dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. In the church you will find the gravestone of Tycho Brahe the Elder, the father of the world famous astronomer.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Tomelilla, Sweden

Medåker Church

Medåker Church was probably built in the late 13th century. The vestry and porch were added during the 1300’s. The church was widened to the north around 1490. The tower and tall, slender spire date back to 1652. The limestone fonts were made in the 13th century and the altar in the late 15th century. The pulpit was carved in 1627.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Arboga, Sweden

Borgeby Church

The original structure of Borgeby Church dates from the 13th century. It was extended and improved in the 18th and 19th centuries. The church is a simple, white-painted stone building with a typical Skåne church tower (similar to a form of a stepped gable). The font dates from Middle Ages. The altarpiece was painted by Mårten Eskil Winge in 1870.
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Furulund, Sweden

Alskog Church

The oldest part of the Alskog church is the nave, dating from the first quarter of the 13th century. It displays an unusual southern portal, decorated with sculptures. Inside, the nave is divided in two parts by two central columns and has a vaulted ceiling. The tower is somewhat later but also from the early 13th century. Its portal show similarities with the tower portal of Visby Cathedral. The much larger choir and ves ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ljugarn, Sweden

Dalköpinge Church

Dalköpinge Church originates from the 1200s. It was built of bricks in Romanesque style. Probably it was built shortly after Trelleborg’s city church in the year 1275. The small tower was added later in the Middle Ages. There are some medieval mural paintings survived in vaults. the altar wall and pulpit were made in the late 1500s. The sandstone font is as old as the church itself.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Näsby Church

Näsby church was built in the 12th century, and the cristening font dates back to that time. Näsby is the parish of country seats, something that has influenced the design of the church. Today, this can be seen in the magnificent coats of arms of the Silversparre, Silfverhielm and Patkull families. During the 1720s, the church was extended with a cross-arm to the north when the altar was moved to the southern wa ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Vetlanda, 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

Brunnby Church

The Romanesque style Brunnby church originates from the 1100s and the tower from 1400s. The mural paintings were made in the same time and have survived well to present days. The pulpit from 1623 has a monogram of Christian IV, the King of Denmark.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Höganäs, 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

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

Tumbo Church

The medieval Tumbo church is very well-preserved. It was built in a Romanesque style in the 1100s. The sacristy and porch were added in the 15th century. The original tower was collapsed in 1734 and the new one was built couple of years later. The pulpit was made in 1630. The sandstone-made font date from the 1100s and polyptychs date also from the Middle Ages.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Kvicksund, Sweden

Svarteborg Church

The first written record of Svarteborg Church dates back to 1391, but the church is probably built already in the 1100s or 1200s. The current appearance originates from the restoration made in 1708. The wooden tower was erected in 1757. The Baroquie style pulpit and altar were made in the 1600s. the paintings in ceilings were made probably by Christian von Schönfeldt in 1741.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Dingle, Sweden

Väte Church

Väte Church was built of stone during the 1300s and is one of the largest in Gotland. It consists of thee naves with arches, sacristy and chancel the north side. The chancel with vestry was built around 1300. The nave is considered to originate from the master Egypticus or his workshop. The triumph crucifix originate from the earlier church (made around 1200) and the baptismal font was carved by master Byzantios in ...
Founded: ca. 1300 | Location: Gotland, Sweden

Stora Köpinge Church

The construction of Stora Köpinge Church was started in the 1100s and the nave choir and apsis were added in the early 1200s. The sacristy was completed in 1729 and tower was erected in 1860s. The interior of the church contains medieval frescoes painted by the Snårestad Master. There is also a Romanesque font. The pulpit dates from 1597. The church is known for its impressive altar canopy.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Köpingebro, Sweden

Hörup Church

Hörup church was built in the 1100s and it was dedicated to St. Anna. The tower and part of the original nave walls have survived. The restoration and enlargement was made in 1848. The most interesting detail inside is the altarpiece painted by Carl Bloch. The font dates from 1100s and the wooden crucifix from the early 1500s. The pulpit was carved in the 17th century by Jacob Kremberg.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Löderup, Sweden

Ärentuna Church

The grey-stone church of Ärentuna was built around the year 1300. It was probably inaugurated in 1302, when archbishop Nils Allesson visited in Ärentuna parish. The original barrel vault of wood was replaced by brick-made cross-vaults before the church's reopening in 1435. The well-preserved mural paintings, made by unknown “Ärentuna master” date also from 1440-1450s. The bell-tower was reconstructed in 1772.
Founded: ca. 1300 | Location: Storvreta, 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

Öckerö Old Church

The older church of Öckerö was built around 1450 to the site of earlier wooden church. The current appearance date from the restoration made in the 1780s. There are two artefacts, a font and crucifix, dating from the previous church and two wooden sculptures made in the 15th century. The altar was made in 1626 and roof paintings (“Last Judgement”) in 1792.
Founded: ca. 1450 | Location: Öckerö, Sweden

Eke Church

The current Eke Church with its Romanesque nave and Gothic tower was predated by a stave church on the same location, fragments of which was found under the floor of the presently visible church in 1916. The stave church had been decorated with paintings in Byzantine style. The oldest part of the current building is the nave and choir, dating from the mid-13th century. The disproportionally massive tower was added in c. 1 ...
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Havdhem, 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

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.