Medieval churches in Sweden

Bodarp Church

Bodard Church was originally built in Romanesque style in the late 1100s or early 1200s. The tower and vaults were added in 1400s. The church was enlarged in 1864 according the design of Carl Georg Brunius. The altar dates from the 1500s, pulpit and baptismal font from 1640.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Öja Church

The chancel and apsis of Öja Church were built in the early 13th century. The high tower, used as a landmark for seafarers, was completed in the middle 1300’s by building master Egypticus. The mural paintings, made in different centuries, are worth seeing. The most beautiful artefact in the church is a cross made around 1275.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Gotland, Sweden

Holy Cross Priory

Holy Cross Abbey was an important Augustinian monastery located in Skåne's old capital, Dalby. It’s history began as a Viking Age royal manor. The buildings along with a granite chapel were donated for the establishment of a Benedictine monastery during the reign of King Sweyn II of Denmark, who gifted the old manor on which the abbey was to be built and two and a half other rented properties to fund its const ...
Founded: 1060 | Location: Dalby, 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

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

Algutsrum Church

The church of Algutstrum was originally built in the 12th century. The original tower was incorporated into the present neo-classical style church built in 1822. The most significant artefact in the church is a altarpiece made in Northern Germany in 1475. Also the font originate from Middle Ages. The Rococo-style pulpit was made in 1775 by Jonas Berggren. The Algutsrum Church stands at the highest point on Öland.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Färjestaden, Öland, Sweden

St. Nicholas' Church

St. Nicholas’ Church (Sankt Nicolai kyrka) date from the 12th century and is the oldest in the Arborga area. It has been rebuilt several times. Originally single-nave church was extended to three-nave already in the 1200’s. The richly decorated altar is made in Lübeck in 1510. The pulpit date from 1788.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Arboga, Sweden

Gothem Church

Gothem church is one of the biggest in Gotland. The oldest part, apsis and sacristy date from the 1200s. The tower was completed around 1350. It was damaged by lightning in the 19th century and restored. The church bell is the largest medieval one in Gotland, made in 1374. The interior is decorated with mural paintings dating from the 14th century. There are remains of the older church outside and also a defence tower bu ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Gothem, Sweden

Vallkärra Church

Vallkärra Church was built in the 1100s in Romanesque style. Today only the choir remains of the original church, it was largely restored and rebuilt in 1844-1845.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Lund, Sweden

Hedemora Church

Hedemora Church was founded in the 12th or 13th century and is the oldest surviving building in the town. The church has a font that is believed to be as old as the church. It also possesses a crucifix that would have been used in processions before the Reformation, which is believed to date from the same period. The pulpit is a beautiful Baroque work, from the early eighteenth century, and well worth seeing.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hedemora, Sweden

Sollentuna Church

Sollentuna Church originates from the late 1100s but it has been restored and enlarged several times. The current appearance dates from the 1600s. In 1560 remnants of Gustav Vasa and his two wives were held in Sollentuna church on the way to funeral in Uppsala Cathedral. The interior is decorated with murals by famous Albertus Pictor school in the late 1400s. The thurible dates from the 1200s and font was made in Gotland ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Sollentuna, Sweden

Barlingbo Church

The current Barlingbo Church was erected between 1225-1250 but the foundation of an older church building has been found from the nave floor. The large rosette window in west wall is an unique detail. The interior is decorated with frescoes made in the 13th and 14th century. The font from the 1100s is also beautifully carved. The pulpit dates back to 1673 and sandstone-made altar screen to 1683.
Founded: 1225-1250 | Location: Visby, Sweden

Vamlingbo Church

In the Medieval Period, Vamlingbo was the largest parish in the south of Gotland. A stone church was built here at a very early date. Remains of the original church can still be seen by way of sculptures that have been incorporated in the south wall of the nave of the new church. The baptismal font is also from the original church. The present church was built of sandstone in the 13th century. The steeple was struck by l ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Burgsvik, Sweden

Vårdsberg Church

Vårdsberg church was built originally a round church. It is located on the river banks and in ancient times it was able to sail there from the Baltic sea. The church might have been built also for the stronghold against the pagan Baltic people, who made raids to Sweden. In the 13th century church was enlarged with a chancel and two transepts. The western tower dates from 1774. Mural paintings date from the 1400s and ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Vårdsberg, Sweden

Vaksala Church

The grey-stone church of Vaksala was built in the 12th century. Two chapels were added in the 15th century. The altar, biggest in the Uppland diocese, was made in Antwerpen around the year 1500. The pulpit was carved in 1795.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Uppsala, 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 Danes sacked it in 1568. Part of the abbey church was rebuilt in ...
Founded: 1147 | Location: Vrigstad, Sweden

Sanda Church

The oldest part of the church is the tower, dating from the middle of the 13th century. The nave is from the beginning of the 14th century, while the choir dates from the middle of the same century. There was an earlier church on the same spot, elements of which have been incorporated as building material in the presently visible church. The church is richly decorated inside with frescos dating from the Middle Ages. They ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sanda, Sweden

Lärbro Church

Lärbro Church was probably built between 1260-1280. The unusual octagonal steeple was erected in the 1300s. The interior date made mainly from the times after Reformation. The murals in the church vaults are originals. In the chancel floor, by the chancel portal, there is a tombstone in memory of Nicolaus (Nils) Taksten from 1274. To the west of church is a defence tower, which dates from the 12th century. It was built ...
Founded: 1260-1280 | Location: Lärbro, Sweden

Kalix Church

Kalix Church is the northernmost medieval church in Sweden. It dates from the 15th century (first mentioned in 1472). Several items of medieval inventory are preserved including the font, altarpiece and two sculptures. The pulpit, a Baroque work, is from 1674, and is among the oldest to be found in the north of Sweden. The church has a separate wooden belfry, which was made in 1731. The church has been sacked by Russian t ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Kalix, Sweden

Järrestad Church

The nave, chancel and apse of Järrestad Church dates from the 12th century. It was enlarged and the tower was added in the 15th century. Since 1500s the exterior is survived without any modifications. The pulpit dates from 1635.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Simrishamn, 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.