Medieval churches in Sweden

När Church

The oldest part of the presently visible church at När is the tower, erected at the middle of the 13th century. Originally, it was designed to be able to function as a defensive tower, with arrowslits still visible on the first floor. The present nave and choir of the church were added to the tower around the year 1300. Of an earlier, Romanesque church on the same site no traces remain today. Externally, the church has ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: När, Sweden

Tensta Church

The impressive church of Tensta is one of the oldest brick churches in Uppland. The oldest parts originate from the late 13th century. The sacristy and porch were built during the next century and arches between 1420-30. There are many fine medieval frescoes in the church. These are signed by the painter Johannes Rosenrod in 1437. They depict various religious themes including scenes from the life of St. Birgitta. The al ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Svärdsjö Church

Oldest parts of the Svärdsjö Church date from the 1300s and the latest restoration was made in 1873. The church was substantially extended in the 17th and 18th centuries. A particular attraction are the ceiling frescoes, which were painted in the late 15th century. The baptismal font date from from the 13th and triumph crucifix from 16th century.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Svärdsjö, Sweden

Sundre Church

Sundre Church was originally built as the church for a large farmstead. This first church was wooden, and built during the early 12th century. A few painted remains of the church have been preserved at the Museum of Gotland in Visby. They were painted by a Russian artist and the scene depicts the Last Judgement. It has been speculated whether the remains were originally parts of an iconostasis, given the Russian origin of ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Burgsvik, Sweden

Häverö Church

Häverö Church was built around the year 1300. The mural paintings in vaults date from 1470. The belfry, built in the style of Norwegian Stave churches, date from the 16th century and is one the oldest in Sweden. The magnificent altar was made in Antwerpen in the early 16th century.
Founded: ca. 1300 | Location: Norrtälje, Sweden

Bromma Church

Bromma Church was built in the late 1100s. The tower and vaulting were constructed in the 1400s. The church was partially reconstructed in 1852. Also well-preserved mural paintings were found and restored then. The altarpiece was made between 1564-1627.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ystad, Sweden

Veberöd Church

Veberöd church was built either in the late 1100s or in the early 1200s and it consisted of nave, choir and apsis. The major restoration was made in the 19th  century. The tower was erected in 1848. The pulpit is made in 1595 and also the altar dates from the 16th century. The bells were casted in 1432 and 1520.
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Veberöd, Sweden

Skokloster Church

Skokloster Church, the second oldest brick church in Sweden, was built for nuns of the Cistercian order in the late 13th century. In the 17th century it became the Wrangel family burial church as well as for services. There are several significant artefacts in the church, like medieval crucifix and other wooden sculptures. The pulpit and altar were brought in the 17th century from Oliwa monastery in Gdansk, Poland. Behi ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Skokloster, Sweden

Föra Church

Föra Church was established in the 11th century, but the oldest still remaining parts date from the mid-1100s. The massive tower was built some decades later. The octagonal lantern was added in 1828. Fonts date from the early 1200s. There are several tombstones in the floor. The crucifix and couple of images of saints were made in late Middle Ages. The reredos was made in 1776. Pulpit was made in 1762 by Jonas Bergg ...
Founded: ca. 1150 | Location: Borgholm, Sweden

St. Mary's Church

St. Mary’s Church (Sankta Maria kyrka) is the oldest building in Ystad. The construction was began around the year 1200. The Romanesque style church was enlarged in the 1400s. The tower collapsed in a storm in 1648 when the nave was also damaged. The church was restored to double size. There is a big altarpiece made of oak in the early 1400s and two medieval crucifixes. The pulpit is a great sample of Scanian Baroq ...
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Ystad, Sweden

Hellvi Church

The choir portal of Hellvi Church carries a runic inscription which proclaims that a man called Lafrans Botvidarson built the church. The oldest part of the church is the tower, Romanesque in style. The upper part of the tower collapsed following a storm in 1534, hence its unusual shape. The nave and choir date from the middle of the 13th century and display an early form of Gothic style. The nave consists of two aisles, ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hellvi, Sweden

Burs Church

The church in Burs derives its unusual shape from the fact that it was built in stages. The nave is the oldest part of the church, dating from the early 13th century. The large tower was built in the middle of the same century, while the un-proportionally large Gothic choir was built a century later, replacing an earlierRomanesque choir and apse. Externally, the church is noteworthy not least for its choir portal. The do ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Stånga, 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

Strängnäs Cathedral

Strängnäs Cathedral is built mainly of bricks in the characteristic Scandinavian Brick Gothic style. The original church was built of wood, probably during the first decades of the 12th century, on a spot where pagan rituals used to take place and where the missionary Saint Eskil was killed during the mid 11th century. The wooden church was not rebuilt in stone and bricks until 1296, just after Strängnä ...
Founded: 1296-1334 | Location: Strängnäs, Sweden

Degeberga Church

Degeberga Church was built in the end of 12th century and it consisted of nave, choir and apse. The tower and vaults were added in the early 1400s. The tower is survived, but the other exterior dates mainly from the restoration made in the 1860s. The unique detail in the church is a pulpit, which was donated to Degeberga already in 1592.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Degeberga, Sweden

Röstånga Church

Röstånga stone church was built around 1200. The small tower was added in 1813 and the church was enlarged in 1832. The medieval porch was replaced with a new one in 1715. Inside the church the sandstone font dates from the Middle ages.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Röstånga, 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

Hejde Church

Hejde Church is a medieval Lutheran church in Hejde on the island of Gotland. The church tower and the nave are the oldest parts of Hejde Church, dating from the middle of the 13th century. The choir is about a century later and replaced an earlier and smaller Romanesque choir. Plans to also enlarge the nave and tower were never executed. The sacristy dates from 1795. The church has two decorated entrance portals on the ...
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Hejde, Sweden

Perstorp Church

Perstorp Church construction started in the late 1100s and completed in the beginning of 1200s. The original apse was demolished and the sacristy added in 1836. The church door, made of oak, dates from the 1400s. There pulpit was made in 1623 and renewed in 1741. The altar is believed to be made already in the 1500s.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Perstorp, Sweden

Fole Church

The current Fole church was preceded by a Romanesque stone church. Of this church, the tower remains and is thus the oldest part of Fole Church, dating from ca. 1200. The Romanesque church was gradually replaced with the current, more Gothic church. During the middle of the 13th century, the choir and about half of the nave were rebuilt, and a few decades later, the rest of the nave. The rebuilt church was inaugurated in ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Fole, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Royal Palace of Aranjuez

Palacio Real de Aranjuez is a former Spanish royal residence. It was established around the time Philip II of Spain moved the capital from Toledo to Madrid. Aranjuez became one of four seasonal seats of government, occupied during the springtime (from about holy week). Thereafter, the court moved successively to Rascafría, El Escorial and wintered in Madrid. Aranjuez Cultural Landscape is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After the Christian conquest, Aranjuez was owned by the Order of Santiago and a palace was built for its Grand Masters where the Royal Palace stands today. When the Catholic Monarchs assumed the office of Grand Master of the Order of Santiago, Aranjuez became part of the Royal estate. This fertile land, located between the Tajo and Jarama Rivers, was converted into the Spanish monarchy"s most lavish country retreat: during Spain"s Golden Age, Aranjuez became a symbol for the perfection of nature by mortal hands, as El Escorial was for art.

Such excellence was based on strong Renaissance foundations, as Charles V envisaged this inherited estate as a large Italian-inspired villa, a desire continued by Philip II who appointed Juan Bautista de Toledo to design leafy avenues that ran through the gardens and farming land. A series of dams was constructed in the 16th century to control the course of the Tajo River and create a network of irrigation canals.

The splendour of the estate was only enhanced by the Bourbon monarchs, who would spend the whole spring, from Easter to July, at the Palace. Phillip V added new gardens and Ferdinand VI designed a new system of tree-lined streets and created a small village within the estate, which was further developed by Charles III and Charles IV. As Ferdinand VII and Isabella II continued to visit Aranjuez during the spring, the splendour of this site was maintained until 1870.

The Royal Palace, built by Phillip II on the site of the old palace of the Grand Masters of Santiago, was designed by the architect Juan Bautista de Toledo –under whom construction began in 1564– and later Juan Herrera, who only managed to finish half the project. Although glimpses of the original layout still remain, the building itself is more characteristic of the classicism favoured by the Hapsburg monarchs, with alternating white stone and brick. The original design was continued by Phillip V in 1715 but not finished until 1752 under Ferdinand VI. The rectangular layout that Juan Bautista de Toledo had planned, and that took two centuries to complete, was only maintained for 20 years, since in 1775 Charles III added two wings onto the Palace.

Real Casa del Labrador

As the Prince of Asturias, Charles IV was a frequent visitor to the pier pavilions built by Ferdinand VI and grew up playing in the Prince’s Garden. When he became King, he decided to build a new country house at the far end of these gardens, known as the Casa del Labrador (the labourer"s house) due to its modest exterior that was designed to heavily contrast the magnificent internal decor. It was built by chief architect Juan de Villanueva and his pupil Isidro González Velázquez, who designed some of the interior spaces. These rooms, developed in various stages until 1808, are the greatest example of the lavish interior decor favoured by this monarch in his palaces and country retreats. Highlights at this Site include the combination of different types of art and the luxurious textiles, in particular the silks from Lyon, as well as wealth of original works on the main floor, where Ferdinand VII added various paintings and landscapes by Brambilla.

King"s Garden, the Island Garden, Parterre Garden and the Prince"s Garden

Phillip II, a great lover of gardens, paid special attention to this feature of the Aranjuez Palace: during his reign, he maintained both the Island Garden, designed by the architect Juan Bautista de Toledo, and the King"s Garden, immediately adjacent to the Palace and whose current layout was designed by Philip IV. The majority of the fountains on this island were commissioned by Phillip IV, while the Bourbons added other features such as the Charles III benches.

Phillip V made two French-style additions to the existing gardens: the Parterre Garden in front of the palace and the extension at the far end of the Island Garden, known as the Little Island, where he installed the Tritons Fountain that was later moved to the Campo del Moro park by Isabella II.

The Prince"s Garden owes its name and creation to the son and heir of Charles III who, in the 1770s, began to use Ferdinand VI"s old pier for his own enjoyment. He also created a landscaped garden in the Anglo-French style that was in fashion at the time and which was directly influenced by Marie Antoinette"s gardens at the Petit Trianon. Both Juan de Villanueva and Pablo Boutelou collaborated in the design of this garden.