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

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.