Medieval churches in Sweden

Skara Cathedral

Skara Cathedral is the seat for the bishop of the Church of Sweden Diocese of Skara. It is also one the largest churches in Sweden. The history of cathedral is traced from the 11th century and it was inaugurated as a cathedral around 1150. The current appearance is from the 13th century. The current Gothic design dates to the 1886-1894 restoration under the leadership of architect Helgo Zettervall. The furnishings are uni ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Skara, Sweden

Ystad Abbey

Ystad Abbey was inaugurated in 1267 by the Fransiscan Order. Along Vadstena it is the best preserved medieval abbey in Sweden. Dissolved at the Reformation, the Abbey was handed over to the towns people and soon fell into disrepair. The eastern part and gatekeeper’s house has survived to present days.. In 1912 it became home to the local museum, which holds changing temporary exhibitions in a wing of the abbey and ...
Founded: 1267 | Location: Ystad, 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

Nederluleå Church

Nederluleå church is the largest medieval church in Norrland. It was built during the 15th century and inaugurated by Archbishop Jacob Ulfsson in 1492. The church has a very rich interior and furnishings. The late-mediaeval frescos in the chancel were by the school of Albertus Pictor. The richly decorated triptych was made in Antwerpen around 1520 and it is one of the finest in Sweden. The font and cruficix date al ...
Founded: 1492 | Location: Gammelstad, 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

Vadstena Abbey

The Abbey of Our Lady and of St. Bridget, more commonly referred to as Vadstena Abbey, was the motherhouse of the Bridgettine Order. The abbey started on one of the farms donated to it by the king, but the town of Vadstena grew up around it. The abbey was founded in 1346 by Saint Bridget with the assistance of King Magnus IV of Sweden and his Queen Blanche of Namur, who made a will donating ten farms to the abbey founded ...
Founded: 1346 | Location: Vadstena, Sweden

St Ibb's Old Church

St Ibb's Church is located at the top of a hill in the churchyard. The oldest parts date back to the 13th century. It was enlarged in the early 1400s and vaulting was added later in the same century. The tower was damaged in wars between Sweden and Denmark and demolished in 1726. The font dates from the 13th century and is made of Norwegian stone. The altarpiece has been painted by Tobias Gemperlin before 1578 and donated ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sankt Ibb, Sweden

Burlöv Old Church

The Old Church of Burlöv is one of the oldest churches in Scania. It has mostly remained the way it was built in the 12th century, with its oldest parts made of sandstone. There is a font from the 13th century, in Gotland style, once damaged and removed from the church, but now restored. The beautiful altarpiece contains eleven scenes from the life of Christ. It dates from the 16th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Burlöv, Sweden

Österhaninge Church

The medieval Österhaninge church date from the 13th century. The sacristy and porch were added in 1400s and the tower in 1587. The chapel of Bielkenstierna family was designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Older in 1663. The marble epitaph was made by Nicolas Millich in 1680. Also the pulpit date from the 17th century.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Haninge, Sweden

St. Nicholas' Church

St. Nicholas" Church chancel dates from the 1100s and the nave was added during the next century. The church was originally a chapel for fishermen, and as the town has expanded, has been built on substantially. The finely carved pulpit dates from 1626 and is believed to be the work of Claus Clausen Billedsnider.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Simrishamn, Sweden

Skokloster Church

Skokloster Church, the second oldest brick church in Sweden, was built for nuns of the Cistercian order in the late 13th century. In the 17th century it became the Wrangel family burial church as well as for services. There are several significant artefacts in the church, like medieval crucifix and other wooden sculptures. The pulpit and altar were brought in the 17th century from Oliwa monastery in Gdansk, Poland. Behi ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Skokloster, Sweden

Varnhem Abbey

Varnhem Abbey (Varnhems kloster) was founded around 1150 by monks of the Cistercian Order from Alvastra Abbey in Östergötland. The Cistercian Order used the same floor plan for all its abbeys, which makes it possible to easily locate the different rooms and halls regardless of the building site. A wooden and a stone church were both erected on the site before the abbey was built. The stone church was erected in ...
Founded: ca. 1150 | Location: Varnhem, Sweden

Lena Church

The church of Lena was built around the year 1300 and consisted of nave, tower and vestry. Wall paintings were added in the early 16th century. The church's eastern part is a chapel where members of the family Bielke are buried. The altarpiece was made in 1491 by carpenter Lars Germundsson in Enköping. Next to the near vicarage are ruins from the late Iron Age, namely, five burial mounds, a large number of stone formati ...
Founded: ca. 1300 | Location: Vattholma, Sweden

Rättvik Church

Rättvik Church dates from c. 1300. It has been enlarged several times and its present shape is from 1793. The church contains some fascinating old inventory like a triumphal crucifix believed to have been made in Germany in the 14th century. There are also medieval frescoes depicting St. Olav and St. Stephen. The altarpiece depicting the Resurrection of Christ was made in the 17th century as well as the pulpit. Arou ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Rättvik, Sweden

St. Lawrence's Church

St. Lawrence"s Church has a long and complicated history that goes back to sometime around the end of the 13th century. It is one of few medieval churches in Östergötland built entirely in brick, a circumstance which may be connected to there being a large number of German merchants active in Söderköping at the time, and it remains a fine Swedish example of Brick Gothic. The original church had th ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Söderköping, Sweden

Church of the Holy Cross

Only the church remains from the medieval Ronneby. The building of the Holy Cross Church was started at the end of the 12th century. Already during the first half of the 13th century, the church was made twice as big. The church was rebuilt even more during the 14th and 15th centuries, because Ronneby became a town.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ronneby, Sweden

St. Lawrence's Church

The St. Lawrence’s church (S:t Laurentii kyrka) was probably built around year 1300. It was enlarged in the 15th or 16th century and burned down in the Seven Years War (1563-1570).
Founded: ca. 1300 | Location: Falkenberg, Sweden

Skanör Church

The Romanescue-style St. Olaf’s Church in Skanör was built in the 13th century to the site of earlier church probably dating from the 1100s. It was reconstructed partially: the extension to west and the tower were made in the 14th century and the chancel was rebuilt in the 15th century. Skanör church is one of few churches in Scania with a crypt.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Skanör, Sweden

St. Peter's Church Ruins

St. Peter's Church have been probably built in two phases during the 12th century.The eastern part with chancel, transept and central tower were erected first during the late 1100's, while the nave and the present west tower were added later. According the tradition the church was used as a bishop’s cathedral until 1130 when the bishop's seat was moved to Gamla Uppsala. The another legend believes the church has be ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Sigtuna, 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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of Our Lady before Týn

The Church of Our Lady before Týn is a dominant feature of the Old Town of Prague and has been the main church of this part of the city since the 14th century. The church's towers are 80 m high and topped by four small spires.

In the 11th century, this area was occupied by a Romanesque church, which was built there for foreign merchants coming to the nearby Týn Courtyard. Later it was replaced by an early Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn in 1256. Construction of the present church began in the 14th century in the late Gothic style under the influence of Matthias of Arras and later Peter Parler. By the beginning of the 15th century, construction was almost complete; only the towers, the gable and roof were missing. The church was controlled by Hussites for two centuries, including John of Rokycan, future archbishop of Prague, who became the church's vicar in 1427. The roof was completed in the 1450s, while the gable and northern tower were completed shortly thereafter during the reign of George of Poděbrady (1453–1471). His sculpture was placed on the gable, below a huge golden chalice, the symbol of the Hussites. The southern tower was not completed until 1511, under architect Matěj Rejsek.

After the lost Battle of White Mountain (1620) began the era of harsh recatholicisation (part of the Counter-Reformation). Consequently, the sculptures of 'heretic king' George of Poděbrady and the chalice were removed in 1626 and replaced by a sculpture of the Virgin Mary, with a giant halo made from by melting down the chalice. In 1679 the church was struck by lightning, and the subsequent fire heavily damaged the old vault, which was later replaced by a lower baroque vault.

Renovation works carried out in 1876–1895 were later reversed during extensive exterior renovation works in the years 1973–1995. Interior renovation is still in progress.

The northern portal is a wonderful example of Gothic sculpture from the Parler workshop, with a relief depicting the Crucifixion. The main entrance is located on the church's western face, through a narrow passage between the houses in front of the church.

The early baroque altarpiece has paintings by Karel Škréta from around 1649. The oldest pipe organ in Prague stands inside this church. The organ was built in 1673 by Heinrich Mundt and is one of the most representative 17th-century organs in Europe.