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

Visby Cathedral

Visby Cathedral (also known as St. Mary’s Church) is the only survived medieval church in Visby. It was originally built for German merchants and inaugurated in 1225. Around the year 1350 the church was enlarged and converted into a basilica. The two-storey magazine was also added then above the nave as a warehouse for merchants. There is not much left of the original interior. The font is made of local red marble ...
Founded: 1225 | Location: Visby, Sweden

Händene Church

Händene Church was built in Romanesque style in the 12th century. A major renovation and extension took place in the 17th century. After all renovations, only the tower remains unchanged since the Middle Ages. The baptismal font dates from the Middle Ages. The altarpiece  is carved in the 13th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Skara, Sweden

Norberg Church

There has been a church on this site since the 14th century, although two severe fires have caused that it has been rebuilt twice. Much of the present appearance of the church is owing to a restoration carried out in 1904, when the church was decorated attractively in the Art Nouveau style. Much of the interior is embellished with floral motifs including roses. Religious items, including the pulpit and altarpiece, date ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Norberg, Sweden

Riddarholmen Church

The Riddarholmen Church (Riddarholmskyrkan) is the burial church of the Swedish monarchs. The congregation was dissolved in 1807 and today the church is used only for burial and commemorative purposes. Swedish monarchs from Gustavus Adolphus (d. 1632 AD) to Gustaf V (d. 1950) are entombed here (with exceptions such as Queen Christina who is buried within St. Peter's Basilica in Rome), as well as the earlier monarchs Magnu ...
Founded: ca. 1270-1300 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Starby Church

The original church of Starby was made of brick around 1200. In the 15th century the roof got its arches and in 1737 the decayed belfry was replaced with a new one. The current tower and main restoration was made in 1818-1819 and it was enlarged in 1854-1855. The pulpit is probably made in 1668. The altarpiece dates from 1831 and is painted by Alexander Malmkvist. The original medieval font was removed in 1819, but broug ...
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Ängelholm, Sweden

Solna Church

The medieval church of Solna is a so-called round church. The oldest part of the church, the roundhouse, originates from the late 12th century, and was especially built for defense purposes. Attached to this round center is a weaponhouse (south), a rectangular choir to the east, and a rectangular nave to the west. North of the choir is the sacristy, and to the east an octagonal grave choir. There is a second grave choir o ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Storkyrkan

Storkyrkan (Great Church, Stockholm Cathedral), officially Church of St. Nicholas, is the oldest church in Gamla Stan, the old town in central Stockholm. It was first mentioned in 1279 and according to tradition was originally built by Birger Jarl, the founder of the city itself. For nearly four hundred years it was the only parish church in the city, the other churches of comparible antiquity originally built to serve th ...
Founded: 1279 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Kalix Church

Kalix Church is the northernmost medieval church in Sweden. It dates from the 15th century (first mentioned in 1472). Several items of medieval inventory are preserved including the font, altarpiece and two sculptures. The pulpit, a Baroque work, is from 1674, and is among the oldest to be found in the north of Sweden. The church has a separate wooden belfry, which was made in 1731. The church has been sacked by Russian t ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Kalix, Sweden

Håstad Church

Håstad Church was built in the 1200s in Gothic style. The tower was added later in the Middle Ages. It remained untouched until 1861, when it was restored by the design of C. G. Brunius. The font and wooden sculptures date from the 16th century. The triptych is also medieval. The altarpiece was painted by Justus Lundsgård on 1930.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Lund, Sweden

Ala Church

Ala Church was originally built in the 12th century as so-called apse chapel, a small round building. The tower and present apsis were added around 1250. The interior was destroyed by fire in 1938. Some frescos were restored later. The limestone font, made in the mid-1200s, survived from fire and the pulpit (1663) was moved from Björke Church.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ala, Sweden

Tierp Church

The unusual large church was made of stone and bricks around the year 1300. The sacristy originates maybe from the earlier church. The vaults were added in the 1400s and painted with frescoes around 1470 by so-called Tierp Master. The crucifix originates from the late 1200s and limestone font from the late 1400s. The Gustavian pulpit was inaugurated in 1781.
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Tierp, Sweden

Vidbo Church

The original church in Vidbo was built in Romanesque style around 1200. It has been enlarged and restored several times. The triumph crucifix dates from the early 1300s and the current pulpit from 1862.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Sigtuna, Sweden

Västerås Cathedral

The oldest parts of Västerås Cathedral date from the 13th century. It was originally built as a triple-aisled basilica in the 1230s and inaugurated in 1271. The cathedral was rebuilt and enlarged during the next two centuries. The tower was erected around 1420. The steeple was added in 1691 and it was designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger. The most famous person buried to the Västerås Cathedral i ...
Founded: 1230-1271 | Location: Västerås, Sweden

Bromma Church

Bromma church is a medieval so-called round church. The oldest parts of the church were built in the later 12th century as a fortress church, and the church is among Stockholm's oldest buildings. Originally the church consisted of the round house and a choir on the east side. The nave and the sacristy were constructed in the mid 15th century, built in stone. In the 1480s Albertus Pictor or his pupils painted more than for ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Medelplana Church

The oldest parts of the Medelplana church date from the 1100s, with the tower added in the 1300s and the choir and armory coming later. At one time the church may have been dedicated to St. Helena (Elin) of Skövde and Götene. What is believed to be St. Helena's altar is currently the baptismal altar. In the village as it was in the middle ages, there was also a St. Helena's spring, which was later excavated and ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Hällekis, Sweden

Älvkarleby Church

The nave of Älvkarleby Church was built between 1478-1490. It was enlarged in 1690-1702 and the post-medieval sacristy was also replaced with a new one. The spire was removed in 1829. The altar screen, from 1490, features an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The church also has several extremely well preserved medieval frescoes, including some of angels, which are well worth seeing.
Founded: 1478-1490 | Location: Älvkarleby, Sweden

Stråvalla Church

Stråvalla Church was built approximately between 1100-1350. The stone church represents the Romanesque style. The weathervane is signed with year 1671 and the belfry was erected in 1739. The interior contains mural paintings that were made in the early 1500s. The original font from the 13th century is located to the Statens historiska museer in Stockholm. The font in the church dates from the 14th century. The pulpi ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Stråvalla, Sweden

Salem Church

The church of Salem was built originally to the Romanescue style in the 1100s. There are some remains of fighting in the walls which refers the church has also had a defensive purpose. The porch was added in the 15th century and the church was mainly reconstructed in the 1600s. The interior was restored in the 19th century. The font date from the 12th century and crucifix was made about one hundred years later.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Botkyrka, Sweden

Götene Church

The oak beams for the roof of Götene church were cut down around year 1125. Perhaps they were used for an older wood church. The choir of the church was consecrated in August 1, 1140. The baptismal font is from the first half of the 12th century. In the middle of the 15th century the flat ceiling was replaced by vaults and some years later the Götene workshop (Götene Master) painted the choir with scenes f ...
Founded: 1140 | Location: Götene, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls) is a 17th-century church and monastery in the city of Lisbon. It is one of the most important monasteries and mannerist buildings in the country. The monastery also contains the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal.

The original Monastery of São Vicente de Fora was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, for the Augustinian Order. The Monastery, built in Romanesque style outside the city walls, was one of the most important monastic foundations in mediaeval Portugal. It is dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of Lisbon, whose relics were brought from the Algarve to Lisbon in the 12th century.

The present buildings are the result of a reconstruction ordered by King Philip II of Spain, who had become King of Portugal (as Philip I) after a succession crisis in 1580. The church of the monastery was built between 1582 and 1629, while other monastery buildings were finished only in the 18th century. The author of the design of the church is thought to be the Italian Jesuit Filippo Terzi and/or the Spaniard Juan de Herrera. The plans were followed and modified by Leonardo Turriano, Baltazar Álvares, Pedro Nunes Tinoco and João Nunes Tinoco.

The church of the Monastery has a majestic, austere façade that follows the later Renaissance style known as Mannerism. The façade, attributed to Baltazar Álvares, has several niches with statues of saints and is flanked by two towers (a model that would become widespread in Portugal). The lower part of the façade has three arches that lead to the galilee (entrance hall). The floorplan of the church reveals a Latin cross building with a one-aisled nave with lateral chapels. The church is covered by barrel vaulting and has a huge dome over the crossing. The general design of the church interior follows that of the prototypic church of Il Gesù, in Rome.

The beautiful main altarpiece is a Baroque work of the 18th century by one of the best Portuguese sculptors, Joaquim Machado de Castro. The altarpiece has the shape of a baldachin and is decorated with a large number of statues. The church also boasts several fine altarpieces in the lateral chapels.

The Monastery buildings are reached through a magnificent baroque portal, located beside the church façade. Inside, the entrance is decorated with blue-white 18th century tiles that tell the history of the Monastery, including scenes of the Siege of Lisbon in 1147. The ceiling of the room has an illusionistic painting executed in 1710 by the Italian Vincenzo Baccarelli. The sacristy of the Monastery is exuberantly decorated with polychromed marble and painting. The cloisters are also notable for the 18th century tiles that recount fables of La Fontaine, among other themes.

In 1834, after the religious orders were dissolved in Portugal, the monastery was transformed into a palace for the archbishops of Lisbon. Some decades later, King Ferdinand II transformed the monks' old refectory into a pantheon for the kings of the House of Braganza. Their tombs were transferred from the main chapel to this room.