Medieval churches in Sweden

Granhult Church

Granhult Church, built around 1220, is the oldest surviving wooden building in Sweden and one of the greatest cultural treasures of the region. it was intended to be demolished in 1829, but due the resistance of the inhabitants it was left to stay. The church was returned to worship use in 1879. The interior dates mainly from the 17th and 18th centuries.The altarpiece was painted by Torbern Char in 1699. The walls are ri ...
Founded: 1220s | Location: Norrhult, Sweden

Hossmo Church

The first church built in Hossmo was most likely a wooden one. Coffins found show that there was probably a church here already in the 11th century. The construction of that church has been linked to the royal court or a powerful local family. Hossmo is considered to have been the centre of a region in the late Iron Age or early Middle Ages. The church was probably built as a royal demesne or a church for a powerful leade ...
Founded: c. 1120 | Location: Ljungbyholm, Sweden

Alnö Old Church

The old church on Alnö is one of the oldest and best preserved in Medelpad region. It was built in the late 1100s. The church had two purposes, as well as place of worship but also as a defensive building. There are well-preserved mural paintings in star vaults (added in the 1500s). The triumph crucifix is also from the 1500s, made by Haaken Gulleson. The pulpit is from the 17th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Alnö, Sweden

Rogslösa Church

The tower of Rogslösa Church was built in the 1100s and the existing nave in 1200s. The ornamentation around the church door was carved at this time, and depicts a number of religious and Biblical themes. It is renowned as a particularly fine example of work from the period. The inventory includes a German triptych from the 15th century and a late medieval processional crucifix.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Borghamn, Sweden

Gråmanstorp Church

Gråmanstorp Church was built by the monks of Herrevad Cistercian Abbey and it was completed around 1160. The porch was added in the 15th century. The font is original and cruficix dates also from the Middle Ages. The altar and pulpit date from the early 18th century.
Founded: c. 1160 | Location: Klippan, Sweden

Sjörup Old Church

The old church of Sjörup waas built between 1150-1170 by “stone master Carl”. The tower and sacristy were added around 1270. The church was left to decay in the 19th century when it was noted to be too small. The restoration was started in 20th century. There is a rune stone called Sjörupstenen in the churchyard, dating from the 10th century.
Founded: 1150-1170 | Location: Ystad, Sweden

Säterbo Church

The stone church of Säterbo was originally built in the 1100’s. The tower was added probably in the 13th century and sacristy in 15th century. The triumphal crucifix date from the beginning of 13th century. The pulpit was made in 1796.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Arboga, Sweden

Gumlösa Church

According the first written record Gumlösa Church was inaugurated by archbishop Absalon of Lund in 1191. It is the oldest church in the Nordic countries built of brick. The vaulting and the tower were built already to the original church, which has been very unusual. The top of the tower was added in the 14th century. Due the documents there were even 96 relics in Gumlösa church in the Middle Ages. The font, ma ...
Founded: 1191 | Location: Vinslöv, Sweden

Husby-Sjutolft Church

The oldest part of current Husby-Sjutolfts church was probably built in the 1200s or 1300s and originally belonged to an earlier wooden church. The nave was probably built during the 1300s and steeple in the early 1400s. The tower got its present appearance tower in 1783. Albertus Pictor decorated Husby-Sjutolft church with biblical subjects in the 1470s or 1480s. His signature is above the entrance to the sacristy. The ...
Founded: 13-14th century | Location: Ekolsund, Sweden

Myresjö Old Church

Myresjö Old Church is a delightful medieval church without a tower, little altered since medieval times. It contains wall frescoes from the 12th century, which depict Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Wall paintings of this age are extremely unusual and well worth seeing. The font dates back to the foundation of the church. The church has a 17th century pulpit. The church was extensively renovated in the ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Myresjö, Sweden

Finnekumla Church

The oldest part of single-nave Finnekumla church dates from the 12th century, but it has been restored and enlarged several times, last time in the 19th century. The wooden tower dates from 1855. The font dates from the original church. There is also a rare handbook of church events from the year 1586.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Vegby, Sweden

Nydala Abbey

Nydala Abbey was a medieval Cistercian monastery. Nydala (from Swedish ny, meaning new, and dal, meaning valley) was called Sancta Maria de Nova Valle or just Nova Vallis in Latin. It was founded together with Alvastra Abbey in 1147 as the first cistercian monasteries in Sweden. King Gustavus Vasa appropriated the abbey in the 1520s, and the D ...
Founded: 1147 | Location: Vrigstad, Sweden

Grundsunda Church

The stone church of Grundsunda was probably built in the 14th century. Arches were added later in the Middle Ages as well as the porch and sacristy. Walls and the roof were decorated with murals around 1600, but them were overpainted in the 19th century. The wooden belfry was erected in 1794. The unique font dates from the 17th century and is made of single piece of wood. The pulpit was carved by Tomas Kiempe in the 1720s ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Husum, Sweden

Ventlinge Church

Ventlinge Church, dedicated to St. Lawrence, was built during the first half of the 1100's. It began as a towerless vestibule church of Romanesque style. Around the year 1200, a defensive tower entirely on its own grounds was added. Above the staircase entrance in the porch is a throw shaft straight up through the wall. Church defenders could also stand on the tower’s second floor and throw stones at unwelcome visit ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Degerhamn, Sweden

Naverstad Church

Naverstad Church, one of the oldest and most notable in the county, is built in stone and the oldest part - the choir - dates from the mid-12th century. The tower was added in 1669 and damaged twice during the 18th century - by an earthquake and then by lightning. A separate belfry was built in 1746. An oak sculpture from the 14th century represents the Virgin Mary. The altar and pulpit are 17th century. The 17th century ...
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Bullaren, Sweden

Kungs-Barkarö Church

Kungs-Barkarö granite church with brick features and wooden vaults was built at the end of the 13th century. A few 15th century murals are still visible in the vault. This small church, in fact the smallest one in the diocese, holds just 100 people. The church bell is from the 13th century and the crucifix is from the 1360s. Guided tours can be arranged for groups. Please contact the parish registrar’s office.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Kungsör, Sweden

Kärråkra Church

Kärråkra Church dates from the late 1100s or early 1200s. There are oak logs in the church dating from even earlier stave church. The vaults were rebuilt in 1729-1730. The tower dates from 1910. The font is medieval.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Blidsberg, Sweden

Tåssjö Church

The walls of Tåssjö church date probably from the 13th century. It was reconstructed in 1850-1860s. The font, made of sandstone, date from the 13th and pulpit from the 18th century. The altarpiece was donated by council Carl Henrik Roth in 1842. There is also a medieval wooden sculpture, carved probably in the 15th century.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Munka-Ljungby, Sweden

Bälinge Church

Bälinge Church dates back to the end of 1100s. In the mid-1300s Bo Jonsson (Grip) built near Sundboholm castle and probably the church choir was also reconstructed then as well as the new sacristy. The Gyllenstierna family chapel was added in 1656. The belfry dates from 1762. The inner walls are decorated with several medieval consecration crosses and murals painted by master Peder between 1621-1622. The altar and p ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Tystberga, Sweden

Skörstorp Church

Skörstorp Church was built in the middle of the 12th century, and is the only remaining medieval round church in the Diocese of Skara. It derives its shape from originally being built to serve several different purposes; apart from a place of worship, it also served a defensive purpose, i.e. it was a fortified church. The church has been altered successively throughout the centuries. The church porch is not original ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Falköping, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Eketorp Fort

Eketorp is an Iron Age fort in southeastern Öland, which was extensively reconstructed and enlarged in the Middle Ages. Throughout the ages the fortification has served a variety of somewhat differing uses: from defensive ringfort, to medieval safe haven and thence a cavalry garrison. In the 20th century it was further reconstructed to become a heavily visited tourist site and a location for re-enactment of medieval battles. Eketorp is the only one of the 19 known prehistoric fortifications on Öland that has been completely excavated, yielding a total of over 24,000 individual artifacts. The entirety of southern Öland has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Eketorp fortification is often referred to as Eketorp Castle.

The indigenous peoples of the Iron Age constructed the original fortification about 400 AD, a period known to have engendered contact between Öland natives with Romans and other Europeans. The ringfort in that era is thought to have been a gathering place for religious ceremonies and also a place of refuge for the local agricultural community when an outside enemy appeared. The circular design was believed to be chosen because the terrain is so level that attack from any side was equally likely. The original diameter of this circular stone fortification was about 57 metres. In the next century the stone was moved outward to construct a new circular structure of about 80 metres in diameter. At this juncture there were known to be about fifty individual cells or small structures within the fort as a whole. Some of these cells were in the center of the fortified ring, and some were actually built into the wall itself.

In the late 600s AD the ringfort was mysteriously abandoned, and it remained unused until the early 11th century. This 11th century work generally built upon the earlier fort, except that stone interior cells were replaced with timber structures, and a second outer defensive wall was erected.

Presently the fort is used as a tourist site for visitors to Öland to experience a medieval fortification for this region. A museum within the castle walls displays a few of the large number of artefacts retrieved by the National Heritage Board during the major decade long excavation ending in 1974. Inside the fort visitors are greeted by actors in medieval costumes who assume the roles of period artisans and merchants who might have lived there nine centuries earlier. There are also re-enactment scenes of skirmishes and other dramatic events of daily life from the Middle Ages.

Eketorp lies a few kilometers west of Route 136. There is an ample unpaved parking area situated approximately two kilometers west of the paved Öland perimeter highway. There is also a gift shop on site. During peak summer visitation, there are guided tours available. Visitors are assessed an admission charge.