Medieval churches in Sweden

Tensta Church

The impressive church of Tensta is one of the oldest brick churches in Uppland. The oldest parts originate from the late 13th century. The sacristy and porch were built during the next century and arches between 1420-30. There are many fine medieval frescoes in the church. These are signed by the painter Johannes Rosenrod in 1437. They depict various religious themes including scenes from the life of St. Birgitta. The al ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Västeråker Church

Västeråker church is one of few medieval churches in Sweden, which age, builder and building donations are well-known. The curch was built in 1331 and donated by Lady Ramborg, chatelaine of the near Wik Castle. Fine lightweight arches of the church are well-preserved and made with high quality, because Lady Ramborg hired labour who had been building the Uppsala Cathedral. Most of the mural paintings date from ...
Founded: 1331 | Location: Uppsala, 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

Gryta Church

The age of Gryta Church is unknown. The first church, probably a wooden one, was built there in the 1000’s. How old present stone church is impossible to say, the remains of earlier church can be hidden in the gray stone walls, covered by a thick plaster layer. The church is richly decorated with mural paintings and they are well preserved. The paintings might have been done by Albert the Painter (Albertus Pictor). ...
Founded: 11-12th century | Location: Örsundsbro, Sweden

Säterbo Church

The stone church of Säterbo was originally built in the 1100’s. The tower was added probably in the 13th century and sacristy in 15th century. The triumphal crucifix date from the beginning of 13th century. The pulpit was made in 1796.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Arboga, 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

Dannemora Church

The stone church of Dannemora was built in the late 1400s. The porch was added few decades later. The bell tower was erected in 1753. The mural paintings are well-preserved. The are couple of medieval artefacts, like crucifix in the church. The Baroque-style pulpit was carved in 1680.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Österbybruk, Sweden

Film Church

The oldest parts of the Film Church were built probably in the late 1400s. The large stone-made annex outside was built in 1767 for the labour of near Österbybruk Ironworks. The altar and pulpit were made in the Baroque style in 1732. The triumphal crucifix date from the Middle Ages.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Österbybruk, Sweden

Lannaskede Old Church

The old church of Lannaskede is one of Sweden's oldest Romanesque churches. It was built in 1150. Inside the church there is an organ that is the country's oldest working organ. Like other organs from the 16th and 17th centuries, it has a carillon. The mural paintings dating back to the 12th century are also well-preserved.
Founded: 1150 | Location: Vetlanda, Sweden

Hacksta Church

The stone church of Hacksta date from the 13th century. It has been enlarged and restored several times. The mural paintigs were overpainted, but restored in 1981. There are several valuable artefacts in the church, like two medieval sculptures. The pulpit was made in 1680 and restored in 1822.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Enköping, Sweden

Villberga Church

The original Villberga church consisting of nave and chancel was built probably between 1227-1280. Until the mid-1300s the vaulting of brick and current vestry were added. Simultaneously with the arches were added probably. The porch has been dated to the period 1250-1350. The original frescoes were made probably in the mid-1400s by an unknown artist associated with Mälardalen School. At the end of the 1400's them we ...
Founded: ca. 1227-1280 | Location: Grillby, Sweden

Bringetofta Church

The oldest part of Bringetofta Church was built in the late 12th century. It was rebuilt in a cruciform style in 1754. The chancel is is richly decorated with mural paintings dating back to the 1200s. The crucifix date from the 1300s and and pulpit was made in 1659. The wooden bell tower originate from the 18th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Sävsjö, 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

Kungs-Husby Church

Kungs-Husby Church date from the 14th century and it was enlarged between 1755-57. The medieval frescoes in walls were overpainted in the 18th century, but restored in 1859. The triumph crucifix (made in the 1200s) date probably from the elder wooden church. The limestone madonna statue was made in Rheinland around the year 1340. The Gustavian Classicism style pulpit was carved in 1789 by J. C. Krüger.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Enköping, Sweden

Husby-Sjutolft Church

The oldest part of current Husby-Sjutolfts church was probably built in the 1200s or 1300s and originally belonged to an earlier wooden church. The nave was probably built during the 1300s and steeple in the early 1400s. The tower got its present appearance tower in 1783. Albertus Pictor decorated Husby-Sjutolft church with biblical subjects in the 1470s or 1480s. His signature is above the entrance to the sacristy. The ...
Founded: 13-14th century | Location: Ekolsund, Sweden

Föra Church

Föra Church was established in the 11th century, but the oldest still remaining parts date from the mid-1100s. The massive tower was built some decades later. The octagonal lantern was added in 1828. Fonts date from the early 1200s. There are several tombstones in the floor. The crucifix and couple of images of saints were made in late Middle Ages. The reredos was made in 1776. Pulpit was made in 1762 by Jonas Bergg ...
Founded: ca. 1150 | Location: Borgholm, Sweden

Kinneved Church

The medieval Kinneved church was made in the Romanesque style between in the late 1100s. It have thick limestone walls. The vestry was added in the 18th century, and the tower built in the 19th century. Much of the interior furniture and ornamentation dates from the 18th century. There is also a medieval gravestone embedded in the wall outside the nave.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Falköping, Sweden

Abild Church

The oldest parts of Abild Church were built in the 12th and 13th century. It is said to previously have had the name Saint John's church after John the Baptist. Most of the inventories are from the 17th century, during which the church was prolonged to the east. The church was painted in 1767. These paintings were later covered by new paintings, until they were restored in 1953. The church has been refurbished in 1927 and ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Falkenberg, 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

Löt Church

The sacristy is the oldest part of the Löt Church. It was originally built for the previous wooden church in the 1100s. The present nave and apsis were added in the late 1200s and the church was enlarged in the late 1400s. One of the key attractions is the collection of frescoes on the walls. These were painted by the master Albertus Pictor in the 15th century. The pulpit date from 1657. The separate bell tower was e ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Grillby, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.