Monasteries in Sweden

St. Peter's Priory

St. Peter's Priory (Sankt Peters Klosters kyrka) was one of Denmark's early monastic houses. It was established before 1166 during the tenure of Eskil, Archbishop of Lund, for Benedictine nuns. It was originally dedicated to Saint Mary and Saint Peter, but by 1200 it was simply referred to as St. Peter's Priory. The original church was built in the latter half of the 1160s of sandstone with the rounded arches of the Roman ...
Founded: 1160s | Location: Lund, Sweden

Mariefred Charterhouse Ruins

Mariefred Charterhouse, sometimes referred to as Gripsholm Charterhouse, was a Carthusian monastery, or charterhouse. It was the only Carthusian monastery in Scandinavia, and one of the last monasteries established in Sweden before the Reformation. The establishment of a Carthusian monastery in Sweden was brought about by the efforts of Jakob Ulvsson, Archbishop of Uppsala, and Kort Rogge, Bishop of Strängnäs, ...
Founded: 1493 | Location: Mariefred, Sweden

Ystad Abbey

Ystad Abbey was inaugurated in 1267 by the Fransiscan Order. Along Vadstena it is the best preserved medieval abbey in Sweden. Dissolved at the Reformation, the Abbey was handed over to the towns people and soon fell into disrepair. The eastern part and gatekeeper’s house has survived to present days.. In 1912 it became home to the local museum, which holds changing temporary exhibitions in a wing of the abbey and ...
Founded: 1267 | Location: Ystad, Sweden

Vadstena Abbey

The Abbey of Our Lady and of St. Bridget, more commonly referred to as Vadstena Abbey, was the motherhouse of the Bridgettine Order. The abbey started on one of the farms donated to it by the king, but the town of Vadstena grew up around it. The abbey was founded in 1346 by Saint Bridget with the assistance of King Magnus IV of Sweden and his Queen Blanche of Namur, who made a will donating ten farms to the abbey founded ...
Founded: 1346 | Location: Vadstena, Sweden

Solberga Abbey Ruins

Solberga Abbey was a Cistercian nunnery in operation from 1246 until at least 1469. It was located outside Visby on Gotland until 1404, and then in Visby. It was the only nunnery ot the island of Gotland. Solberga Abbey was likely a daughter convent of Vreta Abbey. On 12 August 1246, Bishop Laurentius of Linköping mentions that the first nuns had been sent to Gotland, were Solberga was the only nunnery on the isla ...
Founded: 1246 | Location: Visby, Sweden

Roma Abbey Ruins

Roma Abbey was built in 1164 by Cistercian monks. The monks established a religious and agricultural centre for the entire Baltic Sea region. After the Reformation in the early 16th century, the monastery was abandoned. It was then under the Danish Crown. The monastery building was partly demolished and the church was used as a stable. In 1645, through the peace treaty in Brömsebro, Gotland became Swedish again. In 1733 ...
Founded: 1164 | Location: Romakloster, Sweden

Varnhem Abbey

Varnhem Abbey (Varnhems kloster) was founded around 1150 by monks of the Cistercian Order from Alvastra Abbey in Östergötland. The Cistercian Order used the same floor plan for all its abbeys, which makes it possible to easily locate the different rooms and halls regardless of the building site. A wooden and a stone church were both erected on the site before the abbey was built. The stone church was erected in ...
Founded: ca. 1150 | Location: Varnhem, Sweden

Bosjökloster

Bosjökloster (Bosjö Abbey) was originally a nunnery, founded in 1080 by the Benedictine Order. The oldest preserved document that mentions Bosjö Abbey was written by Pope Lucius III in 1181, when he confirmed its privileges. According to local legend, the land was donated by Tord Thott, the first known ancestor of the Scanian noble family Thott. The abbey was transformed into a castle in the 16th century, a ...
Founded: 1080 | Location: Höör, Sweden

Alvastra Monastery Ruins

French monks of the influential Cistercian order founded Alvastra Monastery in 1143. From Clairvaux in France, the monks brought modern methods of administration, technology and architecture to the province of Östergötland in Sweden. Alvastra Monastery is a distinct part of Östergötland's cultural landscape, and is open for visitors to follow the monks' medieval trail. The district around Alvastra pla ...
Founded: 1143 | Location: Ödeshög, Sweden

Vreta Abbey

Vreta Abbey was the first nunnery in Sweden, initially Benedictine and later Cistercian, and one of the oldest in Scandinavia. The exact year of the foundation is not known. The abbey was founded by King Inge the Elder of Sweden and Queen Helena on the orders of Pope Paschal II, which gives a date range for the foundation: Paschal became pope in 1099; the date of Inge"s death is disputed, but probably occurred around ...
Founded: ca. 1100 | Location: Vreta Kloster, Sweden

Gudhem Abbey Ruins

Gudhem Abbey, (Gudhems kloster), in operation from 1152 to 1529, was a nunnery in Sweden, initially Benedictine and later Cistercian. It is considered to have been one of the oldest convents in Sweden, after Vreta Abbey (1100) and Alvastra Abbey (1143). Gudhem, a name signifying "Home of the Gods", was according to tradition a holy place of worship already before Christianity. According to the saga, one hundred images of ...
Founded: 1152 | Location: Falköping, Sweden

Enköping Monastery Ruins

The Franciscan Monastery in Enköping was built during the 1200s, probably around 1250. The founder is alleged to have been a Peter Olai from Roskilde. In a letter to the monastery from 1275 Master Palne asks to be buried there, when his wife is already buried in the monastery. For this, he promises a large sum of money, a boat and a tent as gifts to the monastery. The monastery was reconstructed several times during ...
Founded: ca. 1250 | Location: Enköping, 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

Julita Manor

Julita Manor and open-air museum is located at the site of former Cistercian Julita abbey. The monastery was originally founded in 1160 at Viby, close to Sigtuna, but under the patronage of King Knut Eriksson, who donated land and a right to parts of the fishing at Älvkarleby, it was moved in 1180 to Säby by the lake Öljaren in Julita. The monastery was therefore also known as Säby, or Saba in Latin. I ...
Founded: | Location: Katrineholm, Sweden

Dragsmark Abbey Ruins

Dragsmark Abbey was a Premonstratensian canonry, also known as Marieskog in Norwegian. It was founded before 1260, with the support of King Håkon Håkonsson, and was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The abbey was very wealthy in its heyday and ran a prestigious school, but declined during the 15th century, and as early as 1519 was in the control of a lay administrator, the first monastery in Norway to be s ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Uddevalla, Sweden

Ramundeboda Abbey Ruins

Ramundeboda Abbey belonged to the Hospital Brothers of St. Anthony and was established in the late 1400s. This was the only Antonines monastery in Sweden. After Reformation abbey"s properties were seized in 1527. After that there was an inn until 1800s and the Ramundeboda Church between 1686-1688. The church was moved to Laxå in 1899.
Founded: c. 1475 | Location: Finnerödja, Sweden

Gudsberga Abbey Ruins

Gudsberga Abbey (Gudsberga Kloster) was a Cistercian abbey established in 1486. It was the last Cistercian abbey in Sweden. Gudsberga owned farms, manors, foundries and mines until 1527, when it was reduced to the Crown during Reformation. In 1538 and 1544 King Gustav Vasa ordered to send silver from abbey to Stockholm. It was demolished later. Today some stone foundations remain and there is a museum exhibiting the forg ...
Founded: 1486 | Location: Hedemora, Sweden

Skänninge Convent Ruins

Skänninge Convent was first mentoned in 1178, but it was probably established by the King Sverker between 1150-1156. In 1237 the Cistercian abbey was given to Dominican Order. It was burnt down in 1531. Today only foundations remain.
Founded: c. 1150-1156 | Location: Skänninge, Sweden

Riseberga Abbey Ruins

Riseberga Abbey was a nunnery founded by the Order of Cistercians around the year 1180. The land property of the abbey was donated by Earl Birger Brosa in 1202. After his death Brosa’s wife, Queen consort Brigida Haraldsdotter, moved to Riseberga and she was one of the most famous nuns in the abbey. Brigida has also buried there. Riseberga became soon very rich and powerful abbey. In the 13th century it owned 224 f ...
Founded: ca. 1180 | Location: Fjugesta, Sweden

Herrevad Abbey

Herrevad Abbey was founded from Cîteaux Abbey in 1144 as Denmark's first Cistercian monastery with the support of Archbishop Eskil of Lund. The original name, Herivad, meant the "army ford", referring to a ford over the Rønne River. After the construction of the abbey it became known as Herrevad, or "the Lord's ford", most likely because of the fee payable to the abbey for using the ford, and later the bridge ...
Founded: 1144 | Location: Ljungbyhed, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Saint-Eustache

The Church of St Eustace was built between 1532-1632. St Eustace"s is considered a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture. The church’s reputation was strong enough of the time for it to be chosen as the location for a young Louis XIV to receive communion. Mozart also chose the sanctuary as the location for his mother’s funeral. Among those baptised here as children were Richelieu, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, future Madame de Pompadour and Molière, who was also married here in the 17th century. The last rites for Anne of Austria, Turenne and Mirabeau were pronounced within its walls. Marie de Gournay is buried there.

The origins of Saint Eustache date back to 13th century. The church became a parish church in 1223, thanks to a man named Jean Alais who achieved this by taxing the baskets of fish sold nearby, as granted by King Philip Augustus. To thank such divine generosity, Alais constructed a chapel dedicated to Sainte-Agnès, a Roman martyr. The construction of the current church began in 1532, the work not being finally completed until 1637. The name of the church refers to Saint Eustace, a Roman general of the second century AD who was burned, along with his family, for converting to Christianity, and it is believed that it was the transfer of a relic of Saint Eustache from the Abbey to Saint-Denis to the Church of Saint Eustache which resulted in its naming. Jeanne Baptiste d"Albert de Luynes was baptised here.

According to tourist literature on-site, during the French Revolution the church, like most churches in Paris, was desecrated, looted, and used for a time as a barn. The church was restored after the Revolution had run its course and remains in use today. Several impressive paintings by Rubens remain in the church today. Each summer, organ concerts commemorate the premieres of Berlioz’s Te Deum and Liszt’s Christus here in 1886.

The church is an example of a Gothic structure clothed in Renaissance detail. The church is relatively short in length at 105m, but its interior is 33.45m high to the vaulting. At the main façade, the left tower has been completed in Renaissance style, while the right tower remains a stump. The front and rear aspects provide a remarkable contrast between the comparatively sober classical front and the exuberant rear, which integrates Gothic forms and organization with Classical details. The L"écoute sculpture by Henri de Miller appears outside the church, to the south. A Keith Haring sculpture stands in a chapel of the church.

The Chapel of the Virgin was built in 1640 and restored from 1801 to 1804. It was inaugurated by Pius VII on the 22nd of December, 1804 when he came to Paris for the coronation of Napoleon. The apse chapel, with a ribbed cul-de-four vault, has at its centre a sculpture of the Virgin and Child of Jean-Baptiste Pigalle that the painter Thomas Couture highlighted by three large paintings.

With 8,000 pipes, the organ is reputed to be the largest pipe organ in France, surpassing the organs of Saint Sulpice and Notre Dame de Paris. The organ originally constructed by P.-A. Ducroquet was powerful enough for the premiere of Hector Berlioz" titanic Te Deum to be performed at St-Eustache in 1855.