Monasteries in 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Börringekloster Castle

Börringekloster Castle, formerly Börringe Priory, is a castle built in 1763 on the ruins of a medieval Benedictine priory. The priory was founded about 1150 under Eskil, Archbishop of Lund, for Benedictine monks. However, by 1231 Börringe Priory is mentioned in Liber Census Daniae as a nunnery located on the island of Byrdingø in Börringe Lake, on land which Valdemar II of Denmark had once set a ...
Founded: 1763 | Location: Börringe, 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

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

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

Vårfruberga Abbey Ruins

Vårfruberga Abbey, previously Fogdö Abbey was a Cistercian nunnery from the 12th century until 1527. In the 12th century a house of Benedictine nuns was established in Fogdö, but its exact location is obscure. Excavations in 1991–92 revealed that a medieval fortification had been built on an elevation near the water, and it is possible that the nuns were displaced from their original place of settlem ...
Founded: 1289 | Location: Strängnäs, Sweden

Askeby Abbey Church

Askeby Abbey Church is now a Lutheran parish church. Its oldest part was built during the first half of the 12th century by King Sverker the Elder. Some decades later a convent was added to the church. The first known donations addressed to Askeby Convent are from 1162. The buildings were erected close to a manor, strategically located near the ancient road leading from the Baltic coast to the central parts of the provinc ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Askeby, 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

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 ...
Founded: 1164 | Location: Romakloster, 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 D ...
Founded: 1147 | Location: Vrigstad, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Naveta d'Es Tudons

The Naveta d"Es Tudons is the most remarkable megalithic chamber tomb in the Balearic island of Menorca. 

In Menorca and Majorca there are several dozen habitational and funerary naveta complexes, some of which similarly comprise two storeys. Navetas are chronologically pre-Talaiotic constructions.

The Naveta d"Es Tudons served as collective ossuary between 1200 and 750 BC. The lower chamber was for stashing the disarticulated bones of the dead after the flesh had been removed while the upper chamber was probably used for the drying of recently placed corpses. Radiocarbon dating of the bones found in the different funerary navetas in Menorca indicate a usage period between about 1130-820 BC, but the navetas like the Naveta d"Es Tudons are probably older.

The shape of the Naveta d"Es Tudons is that of a boat upside down, with the stern as its trapezoidal façade and the bow as its rounded apse. Its groundplan is an elongated semicircle. Externally, the edifice is 14.5 m long by 6.5 m wide and 4.55 m high but it would originally have been 6 m high.

The front, side walls and apse of the edifice consist of successive horizontal corbelled courses of huge rectangular or square limestone blocks dressed with a hammer and fitted together without mortar, with an all-round foundation course of blocks of even greater size laid on edge.