Medieval churches in Sweden

Kyrkoköpinge Church

Kyrkoköpinge Church was probably built in a Romanesque style in the late 1100s. Originally it consisted of a nave, a chancel and a vestibule. It had a flat wooden roof but this was replaced with a cross vault in the Middle Ages. At the same time one more tower in the west and a porch in the south was built. Because of the closeness to Gylle church, Kyrkoköpinge and Gylle had the same reverend during a long time. ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Husby-Sjuhundra Church

Husby-Sjuhundra Church is one of the oldest in Uppland. It was built in the late 1100s. The construction material is grey stone and it is dedicated to St. Lawrence. The church was probably built by the order of Knut Eriksson, the son of famous Eric IX of Sweden. The current choir dates from the mid-1200s and Gothic roof arches from the 1400s. The medieval tower was demolished in 1728 and the church was enlarged. The curre ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Rimbo, 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

Yttergran Church

Yttergran granite church dates from the late 1100s and it is the smallest one in the diocese. The church had originally no tower, although one was added relatively early in the 13th century. The interior decoration dates mainly from about 1480, when famous medieval master Albertus Pictor painted murals. The paintings are in a good condition and are well worth seeing.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bålsta, Sweden

Tåstarp Church

The oldest parts of Tåstarp Church were built around the year 1200, probably by monks from the Herrevad Abbey. Arches were added in the 15th century. In the 18th century the church was enlarged to the west and the new tower was erected in 1829. There is an medieval triumphal crucifix in the church. Pulpit date from 1619. A prehistoric sacrifical site is located next to the church.
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Munka-Ljungby, Sweden

Håtuna Church

The first church in Håtuna was probably built in the 1000’s. Later in 12th century it was replaced with a small Romanesque-style stone church. Oldest parts (like the tower) were included to the present church, which was built in the early 14th century. The brick vaults were made in the 15th century. The steeple collapsed in 1700 and the remaining parts of the tower was demolished during the 1800s. During the r ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Håtuna, Sigtuna, 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

Västra Nöbbelöv Church

The Church of Västra Nöbbelöv originates from the 12th century. Some parts were added in the 19th century. The church is known for its unique acoustic resonators. The frescoes painted in the 14th century are also an interesting detail. The Västra Nöbbelöv Runestone, listed as DR 278 in the Rundata catalog, is located to the churchyard.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Skivarp, Sweden

Barkåkra Church

Barkåkra Church was originally built in the 12th century. It was fully restored in the 19th century. The older pieces, including the Baptismal font, are from the early 12th century. The retable by David Jastro dates from the 18th Century. The painted glass in the nave was made by Randi Fisher and Ralph Bergholtz.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ängelholm, Sweden

Härkeberga Church

Härkeberga church was built in the early 1300s and was enlarged in the 1400s with the vestry and porch. Also vaults were added then. Albertus Pictor decorated arches and walls with murals in the mid 1480's. The wall paintings were restored in the 1930s. The paintings in Härkeberga church are Albertus Pictor's finest works. The stories originate from both the Old and New Testaments. They relate to the Biblia Pauperum, a ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Enköping, Sweden

Hammarlöv Church

Hammarlöv Church is the only church in Scania with a round west side tower. The Romanesque style church originates from the 12th century and the tower and vaults were probably added in the 1400s. It was also enlarged in the 19th century. The beautiful mural paintings from the 13th and 15h centuries in vaults have survived. The font is as old as the church and made by so-called Oxiemästaren. The pulpit originate ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Torpa Church

Torpa church is one of the churches in Central Sweden that researches have dated as far back as 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 Rom ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Kungsör, Sweden

Öjeby Church

The oldest parts of the medieval Öjebyn church date back to the 15th century and the clock-tower is probably the oldest building in Norrbotten. The church was restored in 1753.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Öjebyn, 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

Brågarp Church

The first known church in Brågarp was probably a stave church, which was replaced with a stone church in the mid-1100s. The tower was added in the 1854. The font dates from the original medieval church. The original altarpiece, made in 1618, is today moved to the parish house.
Founded: ca. 1150 | Location: Staffanstorp, Sweden

Grönby Church

Grönby church nave was built in the 1100s. The tower was built first in 1400s and again in 1741. In the middle of the 1800s the church was enlarged. The vaults are decorated with beautiful paintings from the 1350s. The altar and pulpit originate from the 1600s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Anderslöv, Sweden

Knätte Church

The nave and choir of Knätte Church date probably from the 13th century. It was damaged by Danish army in 1520. The sacristy is modern, but there are two medieval doors. The font dates from the late 1100s, pulpit from 1600s and altarpiece from the 19th century.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ulricehamn, Sweden

Voxtorp Church

Voxtorp is one of the two interesting round churches in the Kalmar region. It was built at the beginning of the 13th century as the church of a large medieval farm. According to a legend, Voxtorp Church was built by a rich woman named Lona, who built it so she would not need to go to the church a gentry in Halltorp built on his manor. Like the other churches in the area, Voxtorp became a fortified church. During the 13th ...
Founded: c. 1240 | Location: Ljungbyholm, Sweden

Valö Church

The greystone church of Valö was built in the late 1300s and renovated in the next century. This is a fascinating church to visit, since it has scarcely been altered structurally since the Middle Ages, and contains much interesting inventory from before the Reformation. This includes a processional crucifix from the 15th century and several medieval sculptures. There is also a fine medieval triptych, unusual for a ch ...
Founded: late 1300s | Location: Östhammar, Sweden

St. Olaf's Church

The medieval church of St. Olaf (Sankt Olofs Kyrka) was built originally in the 12th century. The nave was enlarged to west in the mid-1200s and the present western tower was added later. The church is a well-preserved sample of medieval architecture.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Falköping, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Königstein Fortress

Königstein Fortress is located on the left bank of the River Elbe. It is one of the largest hilltop fortifications in Europe. The 9.5 hectare rock plateau rises 240 metres above the Elbe and has over 50 buildings, some over 400 years old, that bear witness to the military and civilian life in the fortress. The rampart run of the fortress is 1,800 metres long with walls up to 42 metres high and steep sandstone faces. In the centre of the site is a 152.5 metre deep well, which is the deepest in Saxony and second deepest well in Europe.

The fortress, which for centuries was used as a state prison, is still intact and is now one of Saxony's foremost tourist attractions, with 700,000 visitors per year.

By far the oldest written record of a castle on the Königstein is found in a deed by King Wenceslas I of Bohemia dating to the year 1233. It is probable that there had been a stone castle on the Königstein as early as the 12th century. The oldest surviving structure today is the castle chapel built at the turn of the 13th century. In the years 1563 to 1569 the 152.5 metre deep well was bored into the rock within the castle - until that point the garrison of the Königstein had to obtain water from cisterns and by collecting rainwater.

Between 1589 and 1591/97 Prince-Elector Christian I of Saxony and his successor had the castle developed into the strongest fortification in Saxony. The hill was now surrounded with high walls. Buildings were erected, including the Gatehouse (Torhaus), the Streichwehr, the Old Barracks (Alte Kaserne), the Christiansburg (Friedrichsburg) and the Old Armoury (Altes Zeughaus). The second construction period followed from 1619 to 1681, during which the John George Bastion was built. The third construction period is seen as the time from 1694 to 1756, which included the expansion of the Old Barracks. From 1722 to 1725, at the behest of August the Strong, coopers under Böttger built the enormous Königstein Wine Barrel, the greatest wine barrel in the world, in the cellar of the Magdalenenburg which had a capacity of 249,838 litres. It cost 8,230 thalers, 18 groschen and 9 pfennigs. The butt, which was once completely filled with country wine from the Meißen vineyards, had to be removed again in 1818 due to its poor condition. Because of Böttger, Königstein Fortress is also the site where European porcelain started.

Even after the expansion during those periods of time there continued to be modifications and additions on the extensive plateau. The Treasury (Schatzhaus) was built from 1854 to 1855. After the fortress had been incorporated in 1871 into the fortification system of the new German Empire, battery ramparts were constructed from 1870 to 1895 with eight firing points, that were to have provided all-round defence for the fortress in case of an attack that, in the event, never came. This was at this time that the last major building work was done on the fortress.

Because Königstein Fortress was regarded as unconquerable, the Saxon monarchs retreated to it from Wittenberg and later Dresden during times of crisis and also deposited the state treasure and many works of art from the famous Zwinger here; it was also used as a country retreat due to its lovely surroundings.

The fortress played an important role in the History of Saxony, albeit less as a result of military action. The Saxon Dukes and Prince-Electors used the fortress primarily as a secure refuge during times of war, as a hunting lodge and maison de plaisance, but also as a dreaded state prison. Its actual military significance was rather marginal.

Since 1955 the fortress has been an open-air, military history museum of high touristic value.