Medieval churches in Sweden

Tuve Church

Tuve Church is a Romanesque stone church, consisting of a rectangular nave and a narrow choir. This simple shape was typical of churches in Västergötland. The oldest parts of the building were probably erected in the 12th century. The two buttresses were added in the 18th century, and the porch in 1745. The sacristy, built in 1953, is the most recent addition. The bell tower was erected south-west of the church ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Göteborg, Sweden

Eke Church

The current Eke Church with its Romanesque nave and Gothic tower was predated by a stave church on the same location, fragments of which was found under the floor of the presently visible church in 1916. The stave church had been decorated with paintings in Byzantine style. The oldest part of the current building is the nave and choir, dating from the mid-13th century. The disproportionally massive tower was added in c. 1 ...
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Havdhem, Sweden

Sjonhem Church

The oldest part of the Sjonhem church is the tower, which was built in the 13th century. Originally it was attached to a much smaller Romanesque church. The choir and nave was however torn down and replaced with the current structure during the middle of the 13th century. Inside, church frescos decorate the vaults; these also date from the 13th century. Also probably original are some stained glass windows. A crucifix on ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sjonhem, Sweden

Östergarn Church

Östergarn church is a little 13th century church where the tower of was never built. It was burnt by the Swedes in 1565 during the Nordic Seven Years" War, whereat all medieval fittings were destroyed. It was also sacked by the Russians in 1715 and 1717. In a grave in the church yard lie the German seamen who fell on board the cruiser Albatross, when she was compelled by superior Russian forces to run ashore near t ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Östergarn, Sweden

Fröjel Church

The tower of Fröjel Church was originally built in the 1100’s and other parts in the 14th century. The tower, made for defensive purposes, is today ruined. Between the lychgate and the church is located a maze, called “trojeborg”, of unknown age. There are mural paintings in chancel dating from the 14th century. The triumph crucifix was made around 1300 and the foundation of font date from the 12th ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Klintehamn, Sweden

Ravlunda Church

Ravlunda church was built around 1200. It is typical Scanian in its design with the east apse, cows, nave and tower. Brick arches and vaults were filled with mural paintings in the 1400s, maybe by the Vittskövle Master. The church porch and tower were probably built also in the 1400s. The expansion to the north is considered to come from the 1600s. The altar dates from 1592 and the pulpit from 1609.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Kivik, Sweden

Västerhejde Church

The church was built in Romanesque style during the 13th century, but underwent some changes during the 19th century. The southern portal was then removed, and the spire of the tower changed from its original, pointed design to its presently visible crow-stepped design, traditionally not found on churches of Gotland. The altarpiece, pulpit and pews date from the 17th century. An oil painting by Fredrik Westin that hangs i ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Västerhejde, Sweden

Mörbylånga Church

The oldest parts of Mörbylånga Church were built in the 13th century. For instance the decorations over the west tower portal have been dated to this period. The church was enlarged and reconstructed in the beginning of 19th century according the design of Johan Petterson. The medieval tower was restored in 1872. The church possesses a triumphal crucifix, which would have been used in procession during medieva ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Mörbylånga, Sweden

Lovö Church

The oldest part of Lovö Church has been dated back to the later part of the 12th century. According Berit Wallenberg it was built as early as the 11th century. It is also believed that an even older wooden church existed on this site. Church sermons are held in the church, normally once a month, and for certain Christian holidays. The church is unusually small and narrow. It was extended to the east, first in the 13th a ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Drottningholm, Sweden

Kungslena Church

Kungslena church was probably built in the late 1100s or before 1208 according to tradition by King Erik XI to commemorate the battle of Lena. It is known for its unusual appearance, with three turret towers rising above the roof. The wall paintings were made in 1749 by Johannes Risberg and is one reason why the church is a famous tourist attraction. The font has been dated to 1170, and it is believed the church is older ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Tidaholm, Sweden

Glanshammar Church

The tower of Glanshammar church dates originally from the 12th century. The choir and naves were rebuilt later in the Middle Ages. The crypt of family Reuter was added to the church in 1678-1679. The interior is very beautiful and richly decorated with medieval mural paintings. There are three of Närke runestones in the church.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Glanshammar, Sweden

Klinte Church

The oldest part of Klinte Church is the base of the tower, which is from the first half of the 13th century and built in a decidedly Romanesque style. It is the only remaining part of an earlier, Romanesque church. Around the year 1300, the choir and nave of this church was replaced by the presently visible, Gothic choir and nave. During this time the upper part of the tower was also added. Externally, the base of the to ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Klintehamn, Sweden

Viklau Church

Viklau Church choir and nave were built in the late 12th century. The medieval church was completed with tower in the mid-13th century.  The sacristy was added in 1852-1853. One of Sweden's most well-known medieval sculptures, the Viklau Madonna, originally belonged to the church (now in the Swedish History Museum).
Founded: c. 1170 | Location: Viklau, Sweden

Källa Old Church

There has been a wooden church in Källa since the 11th century. After it was destroyed by fire, and with increasing attacks from Baltic invaders, a new church of stone - with the aspect of a fortress - was constructed in stages was built in the 13th century. The two-storied construction, dedicated to St. Olav, was very unusual and made for defensive purposes. The Källa Church fell into disrepair when a new church was b ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Löttorp, Öland, Sweden

Torslanda Church

The medieval Torslanda Church is one of the oldest churches on Hisingen and in the whole city, as the oldest part of the building, the nave is estimated to have been erected in the 12th century. The porch was added in 1766; the choir in 1780 and the sacristy in 1806. Some of the interior of the church is also notable. There are two baptismal fonts - one made of stone, dating back to the 13th century, and a wooden one fro ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Torslanda, Sweden

Adelsö Church

The stone church of Adelsö was built in the late 1100s. No traces have been found of the first church on the location, but it is assumed it was made of wood. This original structure was however replaced by a stone building, possibly initiated by the king living at the royal estate at Hovgården. If true, the church thus originally served both the local parish and the royal mansion. The stone structure originall ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ekerö, Sweden

Rone Church

Rone church originate from the 1200s and it was built in a Romanesque style. The present appearance was constructed around the year 1300. Mural paintings in vaults were made also in the 14th century and the ones in main nave about a century later. There is an exceptional rich interior in Rone Church. The church bell, made in 1345, is the oldest in Gotland. The pulpit was made in 1595, the font and epitaph in 1664.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Gotland, Sweden

Lau Church

The first Christian church was probably a wooden church. Of this church there is no trace, but the baptismal font in the Church today has probably belonged to this church. In the 1220s a new stone church of considerable size was built in round-headed Romanesque style and consisted of a nave with four pillars, chancel with two cross-arms and apse, an extension in the rear of the chancel where the altar was placed. A large ...
Founded: 1220s | Location: Lau, 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

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

Church of the Savior on Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.

Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.

In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.