Medieval churches in Sweden

Tåstarp Church

The oldest parts of Tåstarp Church were built around the year 1200, probably by monks from the Herrevad Abbey. Arches were added in the 15th century. In the 18th century the church was enlarged to the west and the new tower was erected in 1829. There is an medieval triumphal crucifix in the church. Pulpit date from 1619. A prehistoric sacrifical site is located next to the church.
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Munka-Ljungby, Sweden

Almby Church

Almby Church is the oldest one in Örebro. According the Dendrochronological investigation the oldest part, a choir, was built around the year 1120. The church was enlarged during the 13th century and modified again in the 15th century. The sacristy was added in the 16th century. In 1656 let baron Gustav Eriksson Leijonhufvud to build a chapel to the church. The church’s font dates from the Middle Ages. The sma ...
Founded: ca. 1120 | Location: Örebro, Sweden

Eksta Church

The oldest part of Eksta Church is the tower, dating from the 13th century and still unchanged. The rest of the church is also from the Middle Ages, but was heavily rebuilt in 1838. The church still has four medieval portals, in both Romanesque and Gothic style. The interior of the church is largely Neoclassical, dating from the 1838 renovation. A few traces of medieval frescos have survived on the walls, as have a single ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Eksta, Sweden

Täby Church

Täby Church was built during the latter half of the 13th century. It was first constructed as a square hall. In mid 14th century a vestry was added and about 100 years later the church porch was built. During the second half of the 15th century, the flat wooden ceiling was replaced by a vaulted ceiling. The altarpiece dates from the 1470s. The church is best known as one of the churches with mural paintings by Alb ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Täby, Sweden

Norrsunda Church

The eastern tower of Norrsunda stone church was completed in the late 1100s. The nave was extended to the west and the porch and sacristy were built in the late 1400s. The chapel of Sparreska was added in 1633. The red brick chapel was built by Ebba Oxenstierna after her husband Johan Sparre. The tower got its present appearance in the first half of 1800s. The church was restored in 1902 and 1954. The wall paintings have ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Sigtuna, Sweden

Bunge Church

The tower of Bunge Church was originally built for defensive purposes as part of the older church. The present nave and choir were built around 1300. The interior is richly decorated with murals, dating from from the end of 14th century. These magnificent paintings were made probably by Baltic master, who arrived to Gotland with Teutonic Order. The baptismal font and limestone almsbox (with rune inscription: ”Lafra ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Fårösund, Sweden

Hölö Church

Remains of the 13th century church has been survived in the western wall of Hölö church. The tower dates from the 15th century, but the current appearance originates from the restoration made between 1792-1796. The Gustavian style interior has a Renaissance style epitaph of Karl Sture (died 1598) and his wife.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hölö, Sweden

Husby-Ärlinghundra Church

The stone church of Husby-Ärlinghundra was built in the mid-12th century. The porch and sacristy were added later. The bell tower was erected in 1717 and restored in 1819 to the present appearance. The sculpture of St. Michael, crucifix and mural paintings date from the Middle Ages. The Baroque-style pulpit was made in 1721.
Founded: ca. 1150 | Location: Märsta, Sweden

Hilleshög Church

The Hilleshög Church is a mostly Romanesque edifice, built in granite and brick, with some parts from the 17th and 18th centuries and later additions. It was probably built in the late 1100s and the sacristy and the porch were added in the 15th century. Many of the paintings in the interior, dating back to the end of 13th century and they early 15th century, were painted over in the 18th century but were restored in ...
Founded: ca. 1170 | Location: Ekerö, Sweden

Myresjö Old Church

Myresjö Old Church is a delightful medieval church without a tower, little altered since medieval times. It contains wall frescoes from the 12th century, which depict Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Wall paintings of this age are extremely unusual and well worth seeing. The font dates back to the foundation of the church. The church has a 17th century pulpit. The church was extensively renovated in the ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Myresjö, Sweden

Götene Church

The oak beams for the roof of Götene church were cut down around year 1125. Perhaps they were used for an older wood church. The choir of the church was consecrated in August 1, 1140. The baptismal font is from the first half of the 12th century. In the middle of the 15th century the flat ceiling was replaced by vaults and some years later the Götene workshop (Götene Master) painted the choir with scenes f ...
Founded: 1140 | Location: Götene, Sweden

Björlanda Church

The Björlanda Church is a medieval church built in the 13th and 14th centuries. It was inaugurated, according to the Icelandic skald Eysteinn Ásgrímsson, on a 15 July; the year of the inauguration is not known. The building has been renovated and extended numerous times. Additional windows were installed in the 17th century. In 1734, the medieval choir was torn down. The renovation works of 1936 resulte ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Torslanda, Sweden

Bollerup Church

Bollerup Church was built originally in the 1100s and arches were added in the 15th century. The church was restored and enlarged in the 1860s. Bollerup is one of the four churches in Scania with round tower. The baptismal font date from the 12th century, altarpiece and pulpit from the 17th century. Frescoes in the nave walls have been dated to the year 1476.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Tomelilla, Sweden

Stora Köpinge Church

The construction of Stora Köpinge Church was started in the 1100s and the nave choir and apsis were added in the early 1200s. The sacristy was completed in 1729 and tower was erected in 1860s. The interior of the church contains medieval frescoes painted by the Snårestad Master. There is also a Romanesque font. The pulpit dates from 1597. The church is known for its impressive altar canopy.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Köpingebro, Sweden

Åtvidaberg Old Church

Åtvids old church was built around 1500 and was one of Östergötland County’s largest at the time. In the late 1800s, Åtvidaberg was in need of a larger church. The old church fell into ruins and served as an open-air church for about 70 years. In the 1950s, Elof Ericsson, the director at the time, donated a large sum of money so the church could be rebuilt. The rededication took place in 1957. ...
Founded: ca. 1500 | Location: Åtvidaberg, 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

Brågarp Church

The first known church in Brågarp was probably a stave church, which was replaced with a stone church in the mid-1100s. The tower was added in the 1854. The font dates from the original medieval church. The original altarpiece, made in 1618, is today moved to the parish house.
Founded: ca. 1150 | Location: Staffanstorp, Sweden

Råda Church

Råda Church was probably built in the early 1100s to the site of even earlier wooden church. The chancel was rebuilt in the late 1200s and the tower and sacristy were added in 1400s. Mural paintings date from the 1632. There is also a Viking Age runestone attached in the porch wall. According the excavations made in graveyard, Råby was already inhabitate in the 9th century AD.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Råda, 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

Akebäck Church

Akebäck Church was inaugurated in 1149, but the current nave, choir and apse were built in the late 1100s. The strong tower was built in the 1200s. The font originates from the 1200s, wooden crucifix from 1400s, altar and pulpit from 1600s. The big chandelier was donated to the church in 1850.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Visby, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.