Medieval churches in 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

Västergarn Church

The building of Västergarn Church was started around 1250, and it comprises no more than a chancel. Economic troubles put a stop to the building of the rest of the church. There is also a foundation of another church and the remains of a medieval defence tower.
Founded: ca.1250 | Location: Gotland, Sweden

Åre Old Church

Åre Old Church was built in the late 12th century entirely in stone, with inspiration from contemporary Norwegian church buildings, since Jämtland then was a part of Norway. It is situated at the Saint Olaf Pilgrim's Route (S:t Olofleden), and nowadays is the seventeenth stop on the route that goes from Selånger Old Church ruins at Sundsvall, situated at the Gulf of Bothnia, and crosses the Scandinavian M ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Åre, Sweden

Brunnby Church

The Romanesque style Brunnby church originates from the 1100s and the tower from 1400s. The mural paintings were made in the same time and have survived well to present days. The pulpit from 1623 has a monogram of Christian IV, the King of Denmark.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Höganäs, Sweden

Sorunda Church

Sorunda church is an unusually large, medieval church. Its history goes back to the 12th century with major additions made in the 15th and 16th centuries (the current exterior dates mainly from 1540). The church contains burial chapels for local aristocratic families and several interior details dating from the Middle Ages, notably an unusually fine wooden sculpture by Herman Rode. The altar screen dates from the late 140 ...
Founded: 1540 | Location: Sorunda, Sweden

Bottna Church

Bottna Church dates from the 12th century when the sea level was much higher, possibly reaching the foot of the hill on which the church stands. The church retains the character of the Middle Ages when entrances were on the southern long wall. The door was moved, but the doorway remains, where there is a carved stone relief.The walls surrounding the basilica and parts of the chancel are original. Additions were made to th ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Dingle, Sweden

Östra Ryd Church

Östra Ryd Church was built around the year 1300 and the nave and vaults were constructed around 1430. The church was rebuilt completely in the 1700s, when the tower was added. The altar screen is made of oak in 1488. The limestone font dates from the mid-1200s and wooden cruficixes from the 1400s. There is also a chapel of Brahe family, added in 1690-1693. They donated lot of valuable inventory to Östra Ryd church, most ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Östra Ryd, 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

Drev Old Church

The old church at Drev is built on a knoll amid an ancient landscape full of early remains. The church is the oldest preserved church in this province, dating from around 1170. There are traces of blocked-up doorways and windows in the walls. The men’s entrance was on the south side, the women’s on the north. the priest entered the chancel directly from the south. The interior is richly decorated with paintin ...
Founded: ca. 1170 | Location: Braås, Sweden

Jät Old Church

The Old Church of Jät dates from the year 1226. The wooden sacristy was made in 1733. The external belfry was built probably in the 17th century. It was damaged by fire in 1924 and restored in 1929. The interior is richly decorated by local artist Johan Christian Zschotzscher in 1749. The crucifix dates from the late Middle Ages. There is a legend about Miss Eketrä, who was buried in the crypt. When they opened ...
Founded: 1226 | Location: Växjö, Sweden

Enånger Old Church

Enånger Old Church is a well-preserved medieval stone church built in the second half of the 15th century. Walls has been decorated with gorgeous frescoes painted by so-called Tierp school in 1485. The pulpit was made by two masters from Stockholm in 1737.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Hudiksvall, Sweden

Bärfendal Church

Bärfendal Church was built probably in the mid-1100s. The current tower was erected in 1868. The font dates from the Middle ages and pulpit from 1642. The current altar was made in 1885.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Dingle, 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

Morlanda Church

Morlanda church is the only survived medieval church on the island of Orust. The current appearance dates from the 17th century. The bell tower was erected in 1765. The organs, made in 1604 in Copenagen, are the oldest still working organs in Sweden.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ellös, Sweden

Össeby-Garn Church

Össeby-Garn Church is a local parish church, located near the northern tip of Garnsviken. Built in the 13th century (with a porch added in the 15th century), Össeby-Garn Church is a Romanesque stone church typical of Uppland. Two runestones have been placed outside the church, and another has been built into the church floor.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Vallentuna, Sweden

Orkesta Church

Orkesta Church in Vallentuna was built in the late 12th century and the the eastern part of original nave remains. The sacristy and southern nave were added in the 15th century. The round window was added in 1750. The crucifix was carved between 1325-1350. The rococo style pulpit was added during the restoration in 1753. The external wooden belfry was erected in the 17th century. According a legend, King Gustav Vasa of ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Vallentuna, Sweden

Säby Church

Säby Church was built around the year 1200 and it was enlarged probably in the 15th century, 1692 and 1746. The medieval frescos made by local master Amund are worth seeing. The pulpit was erected in 1653.
Founded: ca.1200 | Location: Tranås, Sweden

Härkeberga Church

Härkeberga church was built in the early 1300s and was enlarged in the 1400s with the vestry and porch. Also vaults were added then. Albertus Pictor decorated arches and walls with murals in the mid 1480's. The wall paintings were restored in the 1930s. The paintings in Härkeberga church are Albertus Pictor's finest works. The stories originate from both the Old and New Testaments. They relate to the Biblia Pauperum, a ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Enköping, Sweden

Bro Church

The first church in Bro was built during the 12th century in Romanescue style. The next church was completed in 1236 and it represented the Gothic style. In the reconstruction around 1300 the nave was demolished and replaced with the present one. In the Middle Ages Bro church was a destination for pilgrimages, because very important relic, an “original” piece of Jesus Christ’s cross was kept there. The p ...
Founded: 1236 | Location: Visby, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Varberg Fortress

Varberg Fortress was built in 1287-1300 by count Jacob Nielsen as protection against his Danish king, who had declared him an outlaw after the murder of King Eric V of Denmark. Jacob had close connections with king Eric II of Norway and as a result got substantial Norwegian assistance with the construction. The fortress, as well as half the county, became Norwegian in 1305.

King Eric's grand daughter, Ingeborg Håkansdotter, inherited the area from her father, King Haakon V of Norway. She and her husband, Eric, Duke of Södermanland, established a semi-independent state out of their Norwegian, Swedish and Danish counties until the death of Erik. They spent considerable time at the fortress. Their son, King Magnus IV of Sweden (Magnus VII of Norway), spent much time at the fortress as well.

The fortress was augmented during the late 16th and early 17th century on order by King Christian IV of Denmark. However, after the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645 the fortress became Swedish. It was used as a military installation until 1830 and as a prison from the end of the 17th Century until 1931.

It is currently used as a museum and bed and breakfast as well as private accommodation. The moat of the fortress is said to be inhabited by a small lake monster. In August 2006, a couple of witnesses claimed to have seen the monster emerge from the dark water and devour a duck. The creature is described as brown, hairless and with a 40 cm long tail.