Medieval churches in Sweden

Rute Church

The oldest part of the Rute church is the choir, built c. 1230. The nave was built around ten years later, while the tower and the west portal were the last parts of the church to be built. The church was decorated with frescos inside during the late Middle Ages. These were executed by the artist known as the Master of the Passion of Christ and were rediscovered during a renovation in 1951. The church ceiling is supported ...
Founded: c. 1230 | Location: Rute, Sweden

Ulricehamn Church

Ulricehamn Church originates from th 15th century, but it was built to the current appearance in 1688. The three candelabras in the church are very impressive, and the oldest was made in 1627. The altarpiece and pulpit are both carved in elaborate Baroque style and were made in the 18th century. The ceiling is adorned with paintings from the late 17th century. These were produced by Anders Falck.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Ulricehamn, Sweden

Holy Trinity Church

Helga Trefaldighet (Holy Trinity) Church was inaugurated in 1302. It replaced the previous church of local Ullerås parish. The church is made of grey stone and brick and it was originally a three-nave basilica. The western tower was added in the 15th century. The church was damaged badly by fire in 1702. The interior is particularly notable. It is decorated with paintings by the famous medieval artist Albertus Pict ...
Founded: 1302 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Gamla Uppsala Church

The stone church of Gamla Uppsala, built over the pagan temple, dates from the early 12th century. Due to fire and renovations, the present church is only a remnant of the original cathedral. Before the arrival of Christianity in Sweden, Gamla Uppsala was the seat of Swedish kings and a ceremonial site known all over northern Europe. The settlement was home to royal palaces, a royal burial ground, and a great pagan tem ...
Founded: ca. 1164 | Location: Gamla Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden

Kinne-Vedum Church

Kinne-Vedum church was built of sandstone in the late 12th century by German master Othelric. It is one of the best preserved Romanesque churches in the county. The tower was erected in the 13th century and arches in the 15th century. The font, made of sandstone, date from the 1100s. There are also two Madonna sculptures from the Middle Ages. The pulpit was made in 1691.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Götene, Sweden

Forshem Church

The oldest part of Forshem Church is the nave from the middle of the 12th century. The present vaults are late medieval. The chancel is not original and was built in the 13th century. The most thorough changes were made in the 1760´s when the church was transformed into a cruciform church. It was restored in 1939 when the 17th century paintings were uncovered from underneath the whitewash of the walls. The interior ...
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Hällekis, Sweden

Dalum Church

Dalum church originally consisted of Romanesque style nave, choir and apsis, built in the 1100s. The tower was added later during the same century. The sacristy was built in 1300s and church got its Gothic details. The tower destroyed in 1500s and the new one was erected in 1600s during the restoration. The bell tower dates from 1693. The current altar dates from 1693.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Dalum, Sweden

Skå church

The nave of Romanescue-style Skå church was built probably in the late 1100s. It was enlarged to to east and the sacristy was added in the 14th century. The church was completely restored in 1695 but destroyed by fire only couple of days after the inauguration. The new restoration began immediatelly and it was completed in 1702. The present tower was added in 1868.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ekerö, Sweden

Vist Church

Vists Church was probably built in the 1200s according the dating in baptismal font. It was restored and the tower added in 1891-93. The crucifix dates from the 1600s and bells from the 1700s (the smaller one from 1704 is probably a war trophy from Poland). The altar was made in 1939 by Gunnar Torhamn.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ulricehamn, 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

Lunda Church

There has been one or more earlier churches on the same site of current Lunda church. One evidence of this is a font, dating from the 1200s. The current church was built in the early 1400s. The pulpit is designed by C. W. Palmroth and donated to Lunda church in 1806.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Sigtuna, Sweden

Fullösa Church

Fullösa Church was built in the 1100s. The sacristy and porch were added later in the Middle Ages and windows were enlarged in 1600-1700s. The most interesting sight in the church are mural paintings made in Baroque style in 1630s. The artist was Gullick Gullicksson, who also painted murals to near churches and Läckö castle. The altar dates from 1600s. There are two cuppas dating between 1100 and 1250. The ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Hällekis, Sweden

Tofta Church

The earliest church on this location in Tofta was probably built during the end of the 12th century. The oldest part of the presently visible church is the tower. The nave and choir both date from the middle of the 14th century. The church walls display fragments of medieval frescos that were found during a restoration in 1958-1959. A few medieval stained glass windows are likewise preserved in the church. Of the furnish ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Tofta, Sweden

Ystad Abbey

Ystad Abbey was inaugurated in 1267 by the Fransiscan Order. Along Vadstena it is the best preserved medieval abbey in Sweden. Dissolved at the Reformation, the Abbey was handed over to the towns people and soon fell into disrepair. The eastern part and gatekeeper’s house has survived to present days.. In 1912 it became home to the local museum, which holds changing temporary exhibitions in a wing of the abbey and ...
Founded: 1267 | Location: Ystad, Sweden

Växjö Cathedral

Växjö Cathedral was built as a single-nave stone church around 1120. According the legend the Cathedral was built on the spot where St. Sigfrid founded a wooden church. His relics were kept here until the Reformation, when they were destroyed. The cathedral burnt down the first time in 1276 and has since been renovated numerous times. The lofty copper clad twin spires of the cathedral give Växjö a ver ...
Founded: ca. 1120 | Location: Växjö, Sweden

Björklinge Church

The church of Björklinge was built originally in the early 14th century. It was enlarged in the 15th century and the present appearance originates mainly from the restoration made in 1655. The church contains a triptych and a sandstone font made before the Reformation. There are five stained glass windows made in 1658. The current altarpiece was carved in 1714. The church has also a rare 18th century organ, which h ...
Founded: 14th century, restored 1658 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Orsa Church

The first stone church in Orsa was built during the 13th century and maybe it replaced an old stave church. Around 1300 the church was built out in east direction and then maybe the sacristy came. In the middle of the 14th century the church was beamed out to the present beam. In the end of the 15th century it was built out to the present size, except the choir. In 1607 they planned to build the bell tower at the western ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Orsa, Sweden

Jumkil Church

The medieval church of Jumkil was originally built in the early 13th century. The vaulting was made in the 16th century and detached bell tower was added in the mid-18th century. There are wooden sculptures and triumphal crucifix from the 16th century. Baptismal font is from the 12th century, made of Gotland sandstone, with many carved motifs, such as the birth of Jesus and the adoration of the Three Wise Men. The medieva ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Floda Church

Floda church well known for its architecture and decorations. The original church was built in the 12th century, but the current brick church was built over it in 1886-1888. The rich mural paintings were made in 1480s by Albertus Pictor and are very well-preserved. The original colours are still visible due walls have never been whitewashed or overpainted as usually in old churches. There is a Baroque chapel of field mar ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Floda, Sweden

St. Olaf's Church

The church of St. Olaf was built in the 1200s, but it was enlarged in 1400s. The major restoration was made in 1870s by Helgo Zettervall. The church and the locality is named after the Norwegian Saint Olaf due there is a so-called St. Olaf"s Well near the church. It was a famous pilgrimage site in past centuries.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sankt Olof, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

São Jorge Castle

São Jorge Castle is a Moorish castle occupying a commanding hilltop overlooking the historic centre of the Portuguese city of Lisbon and Tagus River. The strongly fortified citadel dates from medieval period of Portuguese history, and is one of the main tourist sites of Lisbon.

Although the first fortifications on this hilltop date from the 2nd century BC, archaeological excavations have identified a human presence in the Tagus valley as far back as the 6th century BC. The first fortification was, presumably, erected in 48 BC, when Lisbon was classified as a Roman municipality.

The hill was first used by indigenous Celtic tribes, then by Phoenicians, Greeks, and Carthaginians as a defensible outpost that was later expropriated by Roman, Suebic, Visigothic, and Moorish peoples. During the 10th century, the fortifications were rebuilt by Muslim Berber forces, these included the walls or Cerca Moura ("Moorish Encirclement").

Kingdom

In the context of the Christian Reconquista, the castle and the city of Lisbon were freed from Moorish rule in 1147 by Afonso Henriques and northern European knights in the Siege of Lisbon during the Second Crusade; this victory was the only notable success of that failed crusade. According to an oft-repeated legend, the knight Martim Moniz, noticing that one of the doors to the castle was open, prevented the Moors from closing it by throwing his own body into the breach, thus allowing Christian soldiers to enter at the cost of his own life. With the taking of the castle Christian forces were able to maintain the defense of Lisbon until the end of the 12th century.

When Lisbon became the capital of the kingdom in 1255, the castle served as the alcáçova, a fortified residence for Afonso III, in his role as governor. It was extensively renovated around 1300 by King Denis I, transforming the Moorish alcáçova into the Royal Palace of the Alcáçova. Between 1373 and 1375, King Ferdinand I ordered the building of the Cerca Nova or Cerca Fernandina, the walled compound that enclosed the entirety of the castle. The master builders João Fernandes and Vasco Brás were responsible for its construction. This wall, which partially replaced the old Moorish walls, was designed to encircle previously unprotected parts of the city. Completed in two years, it had 77 towers and a perimeter of 5,400 metres.

The castle and the city resisted the forces of Castile several times during the 14th century (notably in 1373 and in 1383–1384). It was during this period (the late 14th century) that the castle was dedicated to Saint George by King John I, who had married the English princess Philippa of Lancaster. Saint George, the warrior-saint, was normally represented slaying a dragon, and very was popular in both countries.

From this point onward many of the kingdom's records were housed in the Torre de Ulisses, also known as the Torre Albarrã, until the reign of Manuel I. The Portuguese National Archive is still referred to as the Torre do Tombo. Between 1448 and 1451, the master builder was paid several stipends for his work on the palace. These public works continued until 1452, with additional payments being made for labor and materials to convert the building from a fortified castle to a royal residence.

Around the early 16th century, following the construction of the Ribeira Palace beside the Tagus river, the Palace of Alcáçova began to lose its importance. An earthquake occurring in 1531 further damaged the old castle, contributing further to its decay and neglect. In 1569, King Sebastian ordered the rebuilding of the royal apartments in the castle, intending to use it as his official residence. As part of the rebuilding, in 1577 Filippo Terzi demolished one of the towers near the principal facade of the Church of Loreto. However, many of the works were never completed after the young king's apparent death during the Battle of Alcácer Quibir. The following Portuguese dynastic crisis opened the way for sixty years of Spanish rule and the castle was converted into military barracks and a prison. On 30 December 1642, Teodósio de Frias the Younger was appointed master builder to continue the works begun by his father, Luís de Frias, and his grandfather, Teodósio de Frias. This was part of a greater plan by the Spanish forces to recommission the fortification.

However, after Portugal regained its independence following the Portuguese Restoration War, the works were taken over by the Portuguese government. On 6 November 1648, Nicolau de Langres was called upon to take over the design, execution and construction of a new fortification that would surround the Castle of São Jorge and the city walls of Lisbon. In 1650 the military architect Mateus do Couto was named master builder of the project and reconstruction took on a new formality: although the military engineer João Gillot built new walls in 1652, construction again followed Couto's plans between 1657 and 1733. In 1673, the Soldiers' Hospital, dedicated to São João de Deus, was installed on the grounds beside the Rua do Recolhimento. At the end of the 17th century the Recolhimento do Castelo was constructed along the southeast angle of the courtyard, and in 1733, new projects were initiated by master Custódio Vieira.

The 1755 Lisbon earthquake severely damaged the castle and contributed to its continuing decay: apart from the walls of the old castle, the soldier's hospital and the Recolhimento were left in ruins. The necessity of maintaining a supporting military force within the capital city required expansion of the site's role of garrison and presidio. From 1780 to 1807, the charitable institution Casa Pia, dedicated to the education of poor children, was established in the citadel, while soldiers continued to be garrisoned on site. Inspired by the events of the earthquake and the following tsunami, the first geodetic observatory in Portugal was constructed in 1788 at the top of one of the towers of the castle, later referred to as the Torre do Observatório.

Republic

As part of the commemorative celebrations marking the foundation of nationhood and restoration of independence, the government of António de Oliveira Salazar initiated extensive renovations at the site. Most of the incongruous structures added to the castle compound in previous centuries were demolished and there was a partial restoration of the Recolhimento. In addition, on 25 October 1947, a monument dedicated to Afonso Henriques, presented by the city of Porto, of a replica created by Soares dos Reis (in 1887) was installed on the grounds.