Medieval churches in Sweden

Njurunda Church Ruins

The medieval church in Njurunda originates from the Middle Ages, but it was rebuilt even four times. It was anyway left to decay in the 19th century and the adjacent new church replaced it in 1865. The lightning burned the old church down in 1869 and today only stone wall ruins remain.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Njurunda, 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

Vamlingbo Church

In the Medieval Period, Vamlingbo was the largest parish in the south of Gotland. A stone church was built here at a very early date. Remains of the original church can still be seen by way of sculptures that have been incorporated in the south wall of the nave of the new church. The baptismal font is also from the original church. The present church was built of sandstone in the 13th century. The steeple was struck by l ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Burgsvik, Sweden

St. Mary's Church

Maria (St. Mary"s) Church is one of the oldest buildings in Helsingborg. The construction of the church started in the beginning of the 14th century and finished some hundred years later. The place, where the Maria church is standing today, has though been holy ever since people inhabited the area. In the end of the 12th century a little stone church was build in a Romance style, in the place were Maria church stands ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Helsingborg, Sweden

Valleberga Church

Valleberga Church is the only known fortified round church in Scania. It was built of limestone in the middle of the 12th century. A reason for the building of the round church was that the master mason of the church, Carl Stenmester, also built churches on Bornholm, where round churches were common. The font was cut by the master of Tryde and shows one of the legends about Saint Peter and Paul of Tarsus. In 1791, the ro ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Löderup, Sweden

Hjortsberga Church

Hjortsberga church, built in the 1100s, is one of the oldest in Blekinge Region. The current nave ad chancel date from the early 1200s. The magnificent pulpit was made by Åke Truedsson in 1684. The altarpiece dates from 1745. Hjortsberga church is located in the middle of the Iron Age burial ground.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ronneby, Sweden

Atlingbo Church

The foundations of Atlingbo church originate from the 12th century and it is one of the oldest in Gotland. The present church building was erected during the 13th century. Its chancel has Gothic style apsidal plan. The altar dates from the 17th century and benches from the 18th century. The pulpit was made by Rasmus Felderman in 1693. The octagonal sandstone font dates from the 12th century and it is made by master ' ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Romakloster, Sweden

Drev Old Church

The old church at Drev is built on a knoll amid an ancient landscape full of early remains. The church is the oldest preserved church in this province, dating from around 1170. There are traces of blocked-up doorways and windows in the walls. The men’s entrance was on the south side, the women’s on the north. the priest entered the chancel directly from the south. The interior is richly decorated with paintin ...
Founded: ca. 1170 | Location: Braås, Sweden

Stenkyrka Church

According the Gutasaga, a man called Lickajr the Wise built one of the first churches on Gotland in Stenkyrka. If true, this first church was almost certainly wooden. The name Stenkyrka (literally in Swedish stone church) implies that also the stone church is very early, from a time when buildings made of stone (rather than wood) was still a phenomenon unusual enough to give name to a place. This first, Romanesque church ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Stenkyrka, Sweden

Gärdslösa Church

The Gärdslösa church is the best preserved medieval church on Öland. The western part of the nave as well as the slightly younger western tower was built during the 12th century and the transept was added around 1240. The main restoration was done in 1845. There is a votive ship of the Swedish Riksnyckeln, which was blasted in a battle between the Danish and Swedish navies in the Kalmar Strait in 1679. On ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Borgholm, Öland, Sweden

Bokenäs Old Church

Bokenäs Old Church is one of the most well-preserved medieval churches in Bohuslän. It was founded at some point in the early 12th century, and has been in use since. Except for parts of the interior, the weapon house from the 17th century, and the tower from 1752, most of the church is original. The church is open to the public daily during the summer, and for pre-arranged visits during the rest of the year, du ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Uddevalla, Sweden

Hanhals Old Church

Hanhals Church has some elements dating back to the 13th century. Porches were added in the late Middle Ages and the church was enlarged in 1764. The original font, made around 1225, is today in Stockholm Historical Museum. The pulpit dates from the 17th century. In the churchyard, you can see the grave of “The Wise Old Woman From Kyrkabacka”, who was well-known throughout Sweden in the late 19th century.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Kungsbacka, Sweden

Jät Old Church

The Old Church of Jät dates from the year 1226. The wooden sacristy was made in 1733. The external belfry was built probably in the 17th century. It was damaged by fire in 1924 and restored in 1929. The interior is richly decorated by local artist Johan Christian Zschotzscher in 1749. The crucifix dates from the late Middle Ages. There is a legend about Miss Eketrä, who was buried in the crypt. When they opened ...
Founded: 1226 | Location: Växjö, Sweden

Gärdslöv Church

Gärdslöv Church was built in the 12th century. The tower dates from 1836 and current sacristy from 1836. The font was made of sandstone in the 1100s. The pulpit, altar and crucifix originate from the 1600s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Skurup, Sweden

Gödelöv Church

Gödelöv Church was probably built in the 1200s and the tower was added in the next century. The last restoration was made in 1905. The pulpit was made in 1580 and altar also dates from the 16th century. The font, made in the Middle Ages, has been brought from Östra Tunhem church.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Genarp, Sweden

Stora Slågarp Church

Stora Slågarp Church was built in Romanesque style in the late 1100s. In the late Middle Ages it was extended and had roof with cross vaults. On the ceiling of the chancel there are medieval frescoes. The tower was added in 1883. The church has a baptismal font in sandstone from the 1100s , and the pulpit from year 1776 was earlier in Lilla Slågarp church.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Enånger Old Church

Enånger Old Church is a well-preserved medieval stone church built in the second half of the 15th century. Walls has been decorated with gorgeous frescoes painted by so-called Tierp school in 1485. The pulpit was made by two masters from Stockholm in 1737.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Hudiksvall, Sweden

Villberga Church

The original Villberga church consisting of nave and chancel was built probably between 1227-1280. Until the mid-1300s the vaulting of brick and current vestry were added. Simultaneously with the arches were added probably. The porch has been dated to the period 1250-1350. The original frescoes were made probably in the mid-1400s by an unknown artist associated with Mälardalen School. At the end of the 1400's them we ...
Founded: ca. 1227-1280 | Location: Grillby, Sweden

Bärfendal Church

Bärfendal Church was built probably in the mid-1100s. The current tower was erected in 1868. The font dates from the Middle ages and pulpit from 1642. The current altar was made in 1885.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Dingle, 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

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.