Medieval churches in Sweden

Drothem Church

In contrast to near St. Lawrence"s Church, Drothem church was referred to as the 'peasant"s church' and used as a parish church by the rural population rather than the strictly urban. The present church was probably preceded by a wooden church on approximately the same site. Remains of a Franciscan monastery have been excavated in the close vicinity of Drothem church, leading scholars to believe that t ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Söderköping, Sweden

Salem Church

The church of Salem was built originally to the Romanescue style in the 1100s. There are some remains of fighting in the walls which refers the church has also had a defensive purpose. The porch was added in the 15th century and the church was mainly reconstructed in the 1600s. The interior was restored in the 19th century. The font date from the 12th century and crucifix was made about one hundred years later.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Botkyrka, Sweden

Havdhem Church

While the oldest parts of Havdhem Church have been identified as being from the first half of the 12th century, graves dating from the period of the arrival of Christendom to Gotland (11th century) have been discovered in the cemetery. The choir is the oldest part of the church itself. It shows resemblances with the churches of Garde and Källunge. The choir portal is however later, from the 13th century. The nave dates f ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Havdhem, Sweden

Husaby Church

Husaby Church is one of the most interesting historical sites in Sweden. The first stave church was built probably in the 10th century. Olof Skötkonung, the first Christian king of Sweden, is rumoured to have allowed himself to be baptised at a well by the church in 1008. Husaby was also the seat of bishop until 1150s. The present church was built in the early 1100s and influenced by German and English missionaries. Arc ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Götene, Sweden

Anderslöv Church

The Romanesque Anderslöv Church was built around 1100 and the first tower was added a century later. The current tower dates from the 1500s. The church was enlarged in 1767 and 1841. The major restoration had to be done in 1871 after the spire was destroyed by fire. The interior is decorated with murals made by so-called Snårestad school c. 1350. The pulpi has been carved by Jacob Kremberg in 1630.
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Anderslöv, Sweden

Lojsta Church

The Romanesque choir and nave of Lojsta Church were probably built in the mid-1200s. The tower was replaced with the present one in the 14th century. The baptismal font was made probably in the 12th century, stained glass in 13th century, wall paintings 13th –16th century. The pulpit date from the 1600s and it was repainted in 1749.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Hemse, Sweden

Linde Church

Linde Church is a homogeneous Romanesque church. Construction of the presently visible church started in the late 12th century and was finished in the early 13th century. A single, large Gothic window was inserted in the eastern wall in the 14th century. The external nave and choir portals are both decorated with Romanesque sculptures. Inside, the church is decorated with frescos. On the northern wall is a set of paintin ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Linde, Sweden

Botkyrka Church

According the legend the first wooden church of Botkyrka was completed in 1129 and it was built by Björn to his brother St. Bodvid. It was replaced by a Romanescue-style stone church in 1176. The present main nave originates from this church. The tower was added some decades later and the church was enlarged in the 14th and 15th centuries. The altar was made in Antwerpen in 1525. The sandstone epitaph date from the 12th ...
Founded: 1176 | Location: Botkyrka, Sweden

Brännkyrka Church

Oldest parts of the Brännkyrka church was built in the 12th century. There are notes that there has been four serious fires in the church. It is assumed that the name Brännkyrka ('burnt church') was given after a fire around 1400, since it was named 'Vantör' before that time.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Fide Church

Fide Church dates from the 13th century. Oldest are the nave and choir, while the tower was added slightly later. The roof lantern which gives the top of the tower its distinctive shape is however considerably later, from 1826. The church lies in an unusually well-preserved medieval cemetery which is surrounded by a low wall in which three medieval gates still sits. The building material of the church is sandstone. The e ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Fide, Sweden

Spånga Church

The oldest part of the Spånga Church origins from the time period 1175-1200. Large reconstructions and enhancements took place during the 14th century and the 15th century. Baron Gustaf Bonde (1620-1667), owner of the nearby Hässelby castle, made considerable donations to the church. After his death a grave choir, drawn by the architect Nicodemus Tessin the Elder, was attached as a continuation of the church, i ...
Founded: 1175-1200 | Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Torsång Church

Torsång church is thought to be the oldest church in the Dalarna region, and still retains much of the appearance and character of a 13th century church. It has a separate belfry (erected in the 16th century) with bells that are several hundred years old. The church has a font made in the 13th century, about as old as the church itself. There is also a 15th century crucifix and the pulpit was carved in 1624.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Borlänge, 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

St. Nicholas' Church

St. Nicholas' Church in Trelleborg was built around 1250. It was completely restored in 1881-1883 according the design of Helgo Zettervall. The font is the oldest inventory, dating probably from the 1300-1400s. The altarpiece was made of stone in the mid-1600s.
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Kräklingbo Church

The choir and its apse-like projection to the east are the oldest parts of Kräklingbo Church. This part of the church originally formed the nave and choir of an earlier church; an inscription mentions its inauguration in 1211. The present nave and sacristy were built around 1300, and thus incorporated these earlier elements. The east window in the apse-like projection dates from the reconstruction circa 1300. The two mai ...
Founded: 1211 | Location: Kräklingbo, Sweden

Träkumla Church

Träkumla stone church was preceded by a wooden church on the same site. The oldest part of the now visible church at Träkumla is the rectangular choir, which was built at the middle of the 13th century. The nave was added slightly later. The church was intended to have a tower; thick walls at the western end of the nave indicate that preparations were made for the erection of a tower, but it was never executed. The pres ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Träkumla, Sweden

Vall Church

Vall Church is a largely Romanesque church that dates from the 13th century. It was built in three phases. Oldest is the choir with the apse, and the nave, dating from the early part of the century. The tower was begun during the middle of the century and made higher at the end of the century. The church is a relatively well-preserved Romanesque building, with a tower that is unusually tall in comparison with similar chu ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Vall, Sweden

Anga Church

Anga church, built in the 1200s, is one of the smallest in Gotland. The interior is richly decorated by master Halvard. The altar date from the 14th century and triumph cruficix from the 15th century. The pulpi was made in the late 1600s. There is a runic inscription in the northern wall listing peasants, who worked in the construction.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Katthammarsvik, Sweden

Vickleby Church

The oldest parts of Vickleby church date from the mid-1100s. the tower, also built for defensive purposes, was completed around 1200. Vickleby church (as well as other churches nearby) were heavily damaged by Danish army in 1677. The eastern part and apsis were rebuilt in 1778. The interior date mainly from the 18th century, like the altar (1778) and pulpit (1763). The stone-made babtismal font was made for the original ...
Founded: ca. 1150 | Location: Färjestaden, Sweden

Torshälla Church

The present Torshälla Church building was originally erected in Romanesque style during the 12th century at the old heathen sacrificial place of Torsharg. Torshälla was granted city rights in 1317, making the old church insufficient for the growing population of the town. A newnave was added to the west, transforming the old nave into a choir. During the 15th century, the church tower, church porch and vaulted ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Torshälla, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.