Medieval churches in Sweden

Svärdsjö Church

Oldest parts of the Svärdsjö Church date from the 1300s and the latest restoration was made in 1873. The church was substantially extended in the 17th and 18th centuries. A particular attraction are the ceiling frescoes, which were painted in the late 15th century. The baptismal font date from from the 13th and triumph crucifix from 16th century.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Svärdsjö, Sweden

Herrestad Church

Herrestad Church is one of the oldest existing churches in Sweden. According the Radiocarbon dating of wooden parts the construction was started in 1112. Archaeologists have also found nearby an early Christian tomb from the 1000s. It is quite probable there has been a wooden church before the stone church was built. Herrestad church was made of limestone in early Romanesque style. The interior includes a medieval tripty ...
Founded: ca. 1112 | Location: Vadstena, Sweden

Baldringe Church

Baldringe Church was built in the late 1100s or in the beginning of 1200s in Romanesque style. The restoration was made in 1880s and some medieval mural paintings were removed. The bell tower was also added then. The baptismal font, made of limestone of Gotland, date from the 1200s as well as the triumph crucifix. The pulpit and altar were made in the 1600s. There is also a Viking Age runestone, so-called Baldringestenen, ...
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Ystad, Sweden

Högestad Church

The beautiful stone church of Högestad was built in the 12th century. The tower was added in the 14th century. The church bell date also from the 14th century. The pulpit was made in 1726. There are also fine medieval frescoes in walls.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ystad, Sweden

Bjäresjö Church

Bjäresjö Church was built in the mid-1100s. The new nave was added in 1760 and it was enlarged in 1892. The church is very attractive due colourful and intricate frescoes from the Middle Ages. These have been somewhat heavily restored so that some of the detail has been lost, but the effect is still stunning and gives the visitor a real feeling of what the place would have been like hundreds of years ago. The i ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ystad, Sweden

Borrie Church

Borrie Church is one of the oldest and smallest in Scania. It was probably built in the early 1100s in Anglo-Saxon style. It consisted of a nave, chancel and apse. The tower was added in the 13th century and demolished in the 19th century. The church was abandoned and left to decay before the reconstruction made in the 19th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ystad, Sweden

Övraby Church

Övraby Church was built in the 1100s. The porch and tower were added in the 15th century. The church contains some interesting frescoes, whitewashed over after the Reformation and only rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century. Experts have dated these to the 12th century, making them some of the oldest surviving church frescoes in Scandinavia. The pulpit and altarpiece are both from the early 17th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Tomelilla, Sweden

Bromma Church

Bromma Church was built in the late 1100s. The tower and vaulting were constructed in the 1400s. The church was partially reconstructed in 1852. Also well-preserved mural paintings were found and restored then. The altarpiece was made between 1564-1627.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ystad, Sweden

Hedeskoga Church

Hedeskoga Church was built in the mid-1100s, probably by local stone master Carl. The tower was added in the 15th century. The tympanum in a south portal is a unique detail. The pulpit date from 1652 and altar from 1714. The great bell has a mark "1471".
Founded: ca. 1150 | Location: Ystad, Sweden

Östra Vemmenhög Church

The original Östra (East) Vemmenhög church was built in the 1100s. The chapel was added in 1580 for many of the near Dybäck castle owners are buried there. The church was enlarged in 1743 and got its present appearance in 1860. The font, made of sandstone, date from the 12th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Skurup, Sweden

Värna Church

The present church in Värna was constructed in the 1500s of stone and brick. At first the church had a south entrance, but it has always had the same nave. The belfry was erected in 1860.The altarpiece with its wood sculptures was made in Germany in the mid-1400s. The pulpit is made of wood and its framework is most likely from the 1600s. Beautiful mural paintings were made in 1728 by Anders Wikström.
Founded: ca. 1500 | Location: Linköping, Sweden

Torpa Church

The construction of Torpa church has been dated back to the end of the 12th century. What makes this church remarkable is that it is one of the few churches that appears to have been signed by its founder. On the original reliefs on the southern doorway there is runic writing that reads ”Odulf gjorde kyrkan” (Odulf built the church). The current chapel was originally a nave in the Roman church. The vault mural ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Varberg, Sweden

Hardeberga Church

Hardeberga Church was built around the year 1200. It was enlarged and the vaulted tower and porch were added in the Middle Ages. The current tower dates mainly from the restoration made in 1909-1910. The altarpiece dates from the early 17th century and the font from the Middle Ages. The decorated roof was painted by Godfrey Pettersson in 1909. In 2003 archaeologists found the previously unknown rune carving from the nort ...
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Södra Sandby, Sweden

Vomb Church

Vomb Church was built around the year 1200 and vaults were added in the late 1400s. Mural paintings date from 13th and 15th centuries. The current tower was erected in a restoration made by Helgo Zettervall in 1871. Baptismal font, made of limestone, dates from the 13th century. The pulpit and sculptures of Apostles were made in the 16th century.
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Veberöd, 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

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

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

Offerdal Church

Offerdal Church was built in the mid-1100s and it is one of the four oldest churches in Jämtland. It has been reconstructed and restored several times since the 17th century. There are several medieval details in the church including a thurible from the 13th or 14th century and the original door. The font was made in 1716.
Founded: ca. 1150 | Location: Offerdal, Sweden

Askeby Abbey Church

Askeby Abbey Church is now a Lutheran parish church. Its oldest part was built during the first half of the 12th century by King Sverker the Elder. Some decades later a convent was added to the church. The first known donations addressed to Askeby Convent are from 1162. The buildings were erected close to a manor, strategically located near the ancient road leading from the Baltic coast to the central parts of the provinc ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Askeby, Sweden

Vittskövle Church

Vittskövle Church was originally built during the 12th or 13th century. In the 15th century a chapel was built to the north side. The chapel was dedicated to Saint Anne. The tower was built in the 16th century. In the 17th century a grave chapel was built for the Barnekow family. The vaults were built in the 15th century with mural paintings from the 1480s, showing stories from Genesis. These were later painted over ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Vittskövle, 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.