Medieval churches in Sweden

Varnum Church

Varnum church dates probably from the 1100s, but was enlarged in the late 1400s and in 1745. the pulpit and altar were made in 1694. The medieval triumph crucifix (1200s) and font (1100s) are the oldest inventory in the church.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Hökerum, Sweden

Gärdhem Old Church Ruins

The old church of Gärdhem was built in the 12th century. The porch was probably added in the late Middle Ages. It was enlarged in 1727-1731, but in 1860 the parish decided to build a new church 1km to south. The old church was left to decay. The ruins were excavated in 1942-1943. Today stone walls remain.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Trollhättan, 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

Härna Church

Härna church dates from the 12th or 13th century, but it was largely rebuilt in the in the 17th century and renovated in 1838. The sandstone-made font dates from the original church. The altarpiece was painted in the 17th century and it was a gift from Börje Nilsson Drakenberg. The external belfry was erected in 1737.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Hökerum, 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

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

Gårdstånga Church

Gårdstånga church dates from the 13th century. The pulpit (1612), altarpiece (1612) and font (1621) are the works of Danish sculptor and carver Jakob Kremberg, who was a prominent maker of church carvings in Skåne during the reign of Christian IV, King of Denmark and Norway.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Gårdstånga, Sweden

Kullerstad Church

Kullerstad church is a whitewashed Romanesque stone church dating from the 13th century. It is known of two Gunnar"s bridge runestones: according runes there was a man named Håkon who dedicated a bridge to the memory of his son Gunnar. The first runestone was found in the exterior wall of the church of Kullerstad in 1969 and is raised in the cemetery. The second stone was discovered in a church only 500 metres ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Norrköping, Sweden

Hall Church

Hall Church is a medieval Lutheran church in Hall on the Swedish island of Gotland. Hall Church dates from the 13th century. Oldest are the nave and choir, built in the second quarter of the century. The tower is somewhat later. Stylistically it is transitional between Romanesque and Gothic architecture. With one central column and four bays, forming two aisles, the nave of the church is the simplest structure fitting the ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hall, Sweden

Gann Church Ruins

Gann Church was built in the middle of the 13th century in the locality of Lärbro. The church consists of a chancel, nave and tower. The tower rests on the west wall of the nave. The tower was presumably built in the late 13th century. The church was presumably abandoned as early as in the 16th century. The chancel and arch contain mural paintings.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Lärbro, Sweden

Othem Church

Othem church was built in Romanesque style in the 13th century to the site of older 12th century church. There are medieval frescoes in walls from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. The altarpiece dates from 1693 and pulpit from 1730s. 
Founded: 13th century | Location: Slite, Sweden

Lummelunda Church

The nave and tower are the oldest parts of the church in Lummelunda. They were both erected circa 1200. Originally, a choir built at the same time formed part of the church. This choir was razed in the middle of the 14th century, and the presently, disproportionally large choir was built instead. The rebuilding of the choir was intended as the beginning of a complete reconstruction scheme, but only the choir was executed. ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Lummelunda, Sweden

Hejnum Church

The Romanesque tower is the oldest part of Hejnum Church. It originally formed part of a Romanesque church, but the nave and choir were replaced during the mid-13th century by the presently visible, more Gothic parts. Remains of the original church were discovered during an excavation in 1914. A runic inscription above the western portal of the tower bears the inscription 'Botvid master mason'. The church remain ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hejnum, Sweden

Fole Church

The current Fole church was preceded by a Romanesque stone church. Of this church, the tower remains and is thus the oldest part of Fole Church, dating from ca. 1200. The Romanesque church was gradually replaced with the current, more Gothic church. During the middle of the 13th century, the choir and about half of the nave were rebuilt, and a few decades later, the rest of the nave. The rebuilt church was inaugurated in ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Fole, Sweden

Bäl Church

The current Bäl church was built during the first half of the 13th century and replaced an earlier stone church on the same site, fragments of which still remain in the wall between the choir and nave. Of the presently visible church, the choir is the oldest part, with the nave and tower being built successively. Paintings were added in the 13th century through 15th centuries. For some reason, the tower was never finishe ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Bäl, Sweden

Hörsne Church

The first stone church in Hörsne was built in Romanesque style during the 12th century. The oldest part of present church is the tower dating from the first half of the 13th century. The rest of the Romanesque church was eventually pulled down and replaced with a Gothic main building. Thus the choir and the vestry are from the end of the 13th century, while the nave was built during the early 14th century. When the nave ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hörsne-Bara, Sweden

Ganthem Church

Ganthem church is a well-preserved Romanesque church, finished in the middle of the 13th century. The choir with its apse is the oldest part, dating from the late 12th century. The nave is slightly later, from the beginning of the 13th century while the tower is the most recent addition. Apart from an enlargement of the windows made in the 19th century, and the addition of a sacristy in the 1930s, the church has remained ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ganthem, Sweden

Händene Church

Händene Church was built in Romanesque style in the 12th century. A major renovation and extension took place in the 17th century. After all renovations, only the tower remains unchanged since the Middle Ages. The baptismal font dates from the Middle Ages. The altarpiece  is carved in the 13th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Skara, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Bergenhus Fortress

Bergenhus fortress is one of the oldest and best preserved castles in Norway. It contains buildings dating as far back as the 1240s, as well as later constructions built as recently as World War II. The extent of the enclosed area of today dates from the early 19th century. In medieval times, the area of the present-day Bergenhus Fortress was known as Holmen (The islet), and contained the royal residence in Bergen, as well as a cathedral and several churches, the bishop's residence, and a Dominican monastery. Excavations have revealed foundations of buildings believed to date back to before 1100, which might have been erected by King Olav Kyrre. In the 13th century, until 1299, Bergen was the capital of Norway and Holmen was thus the main seat of Norway's rulers. It was first enclosed by stone walls in the 1240s.

Of the medieval buildings, a medieval hall and a defensive tower remain. The royal hall, today known as Haakon's Hall, built around 1260, is the largest medieval secular building in Norway. The defensive tower, known in the Middle Ages as the keep by the sea, was built around 1270 by King Magnus VI Lagabøte, and contained a royal apartment on the top floor. In the 1560s it was incorporated by the commander of the castle, Erik Rosenkrantz, into a larger structure, which is today known as the Rosenkrantz Tower.

In the Middle Ages, several churches, including the Christ Church, Bergen's cathedral, were situated on the premises. These however were torn down in the period 1526 to 1531, as the area of Holmen was converted into a purely military fortification under Danish rule. From around this time, the name Bergenhus came into use. Building work on the Christ Church probably started around 1100. It contained the shrine of saint Sunniva, the patron saint of Bergen and western Norway. In the 12th and 13th centuries it was the site of several royal coronations and weddings. It was also the burial site of at least six kings, as well as other members of the royal family. The site of its altar is today marked by a memorial stone.

In the 19th century, the fortress lost its function as a defensive fortification, but it was retained by the military as an administrative base. After restoration in the 1890s, and again after destruction sustained during World War II, Bergenhus is today again used as a feast hall for public events. During World War II, the German navy used several of its buildings for their headquarters, and they also constructed a large concrete bunker within the fortress walls. The buildings, including the Haakon's Hall, were severely damaged when a Dutch ship in the service of the German navy, carrying approximately 120 tons of dynamite, exploded on 20 April 1944 in the harbour just outside the fortress walls, but the buildings were later restored.

Bergenhus is currently under the command of the Royal Norwegian Navy, which has about 150 military personnel stationed there. The fortifications Sverresborg fortress and Fredriksberg fortress also lie in the centre of Bergen. Haakon's Hall and the Rosenkrantz Tower are open for visits by the public. Koengen, the central part of Bergenhus Fortress is also known as a concert venue.