Medieval churches in Sweden

Norra Fågelås Church

Norra Fågelås Church is first mentioned in 1225, but it has probably been built already in the 1100s. It was largely restored in 1650s. The Stackelbergska family grave chapel was added 1749 and the next restoration was completed in 1754. The cruficix from the 1400s is today in Stockholm Historical Museum. the font is made of sandstone and donated to the church in 1651 by M.E. Sparre of Almnäs Castle. The pulpit dates f ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Hjo, Sweden

Mofalla Church

The oldest wooden parts of Mofalla Church date from the 15th century, but it has been restored several times. There are some original mural paintings survived in ceilings (made in 1480s). The church has wooden sculptures from the 12th and 15th century. The belfry dates from the 16th century.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Hjo, 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

Vansö Church

The oldest parts of Vansö Church were built in the end of 12th century. It was enlarged to east in the 14th century and again around 1450. The tower cap was demolished in 1765 and rebuilt 1901-1902. The interior consists of a medieval altarpiece (1400s), crucifix (1270-1300), font (c. 1300) and two reliquaries (1400s). Vaults were decorated with murals in the 1460s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Strängnäs, Sweden

Fogdö Church

Fogdö Church was built in the 1100s and has wooden sculptures from that time. There was a Benedictine nunnery from 1233. The church was used both as a parish church and as a monastic one, as is testified by an inset opening in the south wall - a so-called 'nun"s window' ('nunneporten'). The quire was also widened so as better to accommodate the nuns" choral liturgy. Judging from the surv ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Strängnäs, Sweden

Aspö Church

The tower and northern wall are the oldest parts of Aspö Church (dating from the 12th century). The chancel was completed in 1300s and the church was enlarged in 1400s. It has an interesting inventory; the fine iron-made door between nave and porch dates from the original church, font is from 1200s and the large altar triptych from 1472. There is also a runestone from the 1000s in the church porch.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Strängnäs, Sweden

Maglarp Church

Maglarp Church was built around 1200 and is one of the oldest brick churches in Sweden. Arhaeological evidences reveal that there has been probably a stave church on the church site before. Maglarp Church medieval exterior is very well-preserved. The oldest inventory is a font dating from the 1200s. The crucifix is also medieval from the 1400s. The beautiful Renaissance pulpit from 1568 is the oldest in Scania region.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Skee Church

Skee church was made of granite in the 1100s and it was enlarged in 1794-1795. The belfry was added in 1673. The fine detail is Madonna sculpture made of black soapstone, dating from the 1200s. The altarpiece dates from 1490s and pulpit from 1671. It was a gift from Sven Ranck, the owned of Blomsholm manor.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Strömstad, Sweden

Dalköpinge Church

Dalköpinge Church originates from the 1200s. It was built of bricks in Romanesque style. Probably it was built shortly after Trelleborg’s city church in the year 1275. The small tower was added later in the Middle Ages. There are some medieval mural paintings survived in vaults. the altar wall and pulpit were made in the late 1500s. The sandstone font is as old as the church itself.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Krokstad Church

Krokstad Church building time is unknown but it is first time mentioned in 1391. It was enlarged in 1702 and again in 1863. The tower was erected in 1810. The octagonal wooden font dates from the 1600s. The small bell is casted in 1614 and the big one in 1844.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Hedekas, 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

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

Hemmesdynge Church

Hemmesdynge Church originates from the 1100s, but it was rebuilt in 1400s and again in 1800s. The medieval murals were overpainted in the 1800s. The font dates back to the 1400s. The other inventory like altar, organs and pulpit were made after the restoration in the 1800s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Trelleborg, 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

Tierp Church

The unusual large church was made of stone and bricks around the year 1300. The sacristy originates maybe from the earlier church. The vaults were added in the 1400s and painted with frescoes around 1470 by so-called Tierp Master. The crucifix originates from the late 1200s and limestone font from the late 1400s. The Gustavian pulpit was inaugurated in 1781.
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Tierp, Sweden

Boge Church

Boge Church chancel was built in the 13th century and the tower was erected later during the same century. It collapsed in a strom in 1858 and was rebuilt between 1867-1892. The limestone font was made around 1250, pulpit in 1727 and altar screen in 1750.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Slite, 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

Västra Alstad Church

Västra Alstad church was originally built in the 1100s, but only the lower part of the tower is from that time. The nave was erected in 1840-1841 and expanded with a new chancel in 1898. The reredos and the pulpit date from 1598, but the reredos was repainted in 1695. The baptismal font from 1944 is made of limestone and made by the artist Anders Jönsson from Stockholm.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Västra Tommarp Church

Västra Tommarp Church was built around year 1200 of flintstone. In the 17th century the gables of the chancel and nave was renovated and got a style similar to baroque. The baptismal font is made of sandstone and has a font basin in tin. Both of them and the calix originate from the 1600s. In year 1649 the pulpit was created.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Västra Vemmerlöv Church

Västra Vemmerlöv church was built in 1100s in a Romanesque style. In the 1850s the church experienced a remodeling by Carl Georg Brunius. The upper parts of the tower were changed and the vaults in the nave were demolished. Late medieval frescoes are preserved in the interior. The baptismal font is made of sandstone and has sculptured lions. It originates from the early Middle Ages.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.