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

Charlottenburg Palace

Charlottenburg Palace is the largest palace in Berlin and the only surviving royal residence in the city dating back to the time of the Hohenzollern family. The original palace was commissioned by Sophie Charlotte, the wife of Friedrich III, Elector of Brandenburg in what was then the village of Lietzow. Originally named Lietzenburg, the palace was designed by Johann Arnold Nering in baroque style. The inauguration of the palace was celebrated on 11 July 1699, Frederick's 42nd birthday.

Friedrich crowned himself as King Friedrich I in Prussia in 1701 (Friedrich II, known as Frederick the Great, would later achieve the title King of Prussia). Two years previously, he had appointed Johann Friedrich von Eosander (also known as Eosander von Göthe) as the royal architect and sent him to study architectural developments in Italy and France, particularly the Palace of Versailles. On his return in 1702, Eosander began to extend the palace, starting with two side wings to enclose a large courtyard, and the main palace was extended on both sides. Sophie Charlotte died in 1705 and Friedrich named the palace and its estate Charlottenburg in her memory. In the following years, the Orangery was built on the west of the palace and the central area was extended with a large domed tower and a larger vestibule. On top of the dome is a wind vane in the form of a gilded statue representing Fortune designed by Andreas Heidt. The Orangery was originally used to overwinter rare plants. During the summer months, when over 500 orange, citrus and sour orange trees decorated the baroque garden, the Orangery regularly was the gorgeous scene of courtly festivities.

Inside the palace, was a room described as 'the eighth wonder of the world', the Amber Room, a room with its walls surfaced in decorative amber. It was designed by Andreas Schlüter and its construction by the Danish amber craftsman Gottfried Wolfram started in 1701. Friedrich Wilhelm I gave the Amber Room to Tsar Peter the Great as a present in 1716.

When Friedrich I died in 1713, he was succeeded by his son, Friedrich Wilhelm I whose building plans were less ambitious, although he did ensure that the building was properly maintained. Building was resumed after his son Friedrich II (Frederick the Great) came to the throne in 1740. During that year, stables for his personal guard regiment were completed to the south of the Orangery wing and work was started on the east wing. The building of the new wing was supervised by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff, the Superintendent of all the Royal Palaces, who largely followed Eosander's design. The decoration of the exterior was relatively simple but the interior furnishings were lavish. The ground floor was intended for Frederick's wife Elisabeth Christine, who, preferring Schönhausen Palace, was only an occasional visitor. The decoration of the upper floor, which included the White Hall, the Banqueting Hall, the Throne Room and the Golden Gallery, was lavish and was designed mainly by Johann August Nahl. In 1747, a second apartment for the king was prepared in the distant eastern part of the wing. During this time, Sanssouci was being built at Potsdam and once this was completed Frederick was only an occasional visitor to Charlottenburg.

In 1786, Frederick was succeeded by his nephew Friedrich Wilhelm II who transformed five rooms on the ground floor of the east wing into his summer quarters and part of the upper floor into Winter Chambers, although he did not live long enough to use them. His son, Friedrich Wilhelm III came to the throne in 1797 and reigned with his wife, Queen Luise for 43 years. They spent much of this time living in the east wing of Charlottenburg. Their eldest son, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, who reigned from 1840 to 1861, lived in the upper storey of the central palace building. After Friedrich Wilhelm IV died, the only other royal resident of the palace was Friedrich III who reigned for 99 days in 1888.

The palace was badly damaged in 1943 during the Second World War. In 1951, the war-damaged Stadtschloss in East Berlin was demolished and, as the damage to Charlottenburg was at least as serious, it was feared that it would also be demolished. However, following the efforts of Margarete Kühn, the Director of the State Palaces and Gardens, it was rebuilt to its former condition, with gigantic modern ceiling paintings by Hann Trier.

The garden was designed in 1697 in baroque style by Simeon Godeau who had been influenced by André Le Nôtre, designer of the gardens at Versailles. Godeau's design consisted of geometric patterns, with avenues and moats, which separated the garden from its natural surroundings. Beyond the formal gardens was the Carp Pond. Towards the end of the 18th century, a less formal, more natural-looking garden design became fashionable. In 1787 the Royal Gardener Georg Steiner redesigned the garden in the English landscape style for Friedrich Wilhelm II, the work being directed by Peter Joseph Lenné. After the Second World War, the centre of the garden was restored to its previous baroque style.