Ruins in Sweden

St. Lawrence's Church Ruins

Saint Lawrence’s church (Sankt Lars) was built in the central parish around 1210-1220. In the same cemetery a German parish church, Holy Trinity (Drotten in Swedish), was built around 1240. The church was abandoned after the Reformation. Architecturally, Saint Lawrence has its models in Orthodox churches, and it has been wrongly suggested that it would have been a Russian church. It’s more reasonable to imagin ...
Founded: 1210-1220 | Location: Visby, Sweden

St. Catherine's Church Ruins

The constrcution of St. Catherine’s church was started in the 1250s and continued through the 14th century. It was actually never completed, and in 1540s it was partially collapsed during the worship. Today only ruins remain, but pillars are still very impressive.
Founded: 1250s | Location: Visby, Sweden

St. Clement Church Ruins

To the south of St Nicholas's Church, among houses, are the remains of the Romanesque church of St Clement, built in the middle of the 13th century. Excavations have brought to light the foundations of three earlier churches. The oldest, dating from the 12th century, was probably one of the first stone-built churches in Visby. To the right of the church can be seen an old weapon house, in which the men deposited their arm ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Visby, Sweden

Drotten Church Ruins

Drotten Church was built around 1050 and it was the second largest church in Lund. The building was about 50m long and probably made for bishop’s church. Archaeologists have also found evidences of even earlier stave church on the site, built probably in the 990 by Danish King Svend Tveskæg. Drotten Church was rebuilt several times and since 1150 it functioned as a parish church and later an abbey church. The church w ...
Founded: ca. 1050 | Location: Lund, Sweden

St. Hans' & St. Peter's Church Ruins

St. Hans and St. Peter churches were built side by side during the 1200s. St. Peter was consecrated to the apostle Peter. St. Hans, which was the larger church, was dedicated to St. John the Evangelist. It was where the Lutheran doctrine for the first time preached on the island. In 1527, however, Bishop Brask turned Lutherans out from the church. But as soon as the bishop sailed to Denmark, Lutherans worships were starte ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Visby, Sweden

Holy Spirit Church Ruins

The Holy Spirit (Helgeand) Church, sometimes incorrectly mentioned as St. James, was built in the early 1200s. It was probably constructed as a chapel for the Danish Guild and donated by the Danish King Valdemar. In the mid-1200s the guild lost its importance and the church was sacrified as Holy Spirit Church and it also functioned as a sanctuary. The church is octagonal and built on two floors. Both floors have a common ...
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Visby, Sweden

Härlanda Church Ruins

Härlanda Church Ruins are the remains of a medieval church in Gothenburg, Sweden close to the picturesque housing area Bagaregården. The church was built in the first part of the 12th century and torn down in 1528 by request from Gustavus I, King of Sweden to build a new church in Nya Lödöse, the precursor of Gothenburg which was founded in 1621.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

St. Olof's Church Ruins

St. Olof's Church was originally built around the year 1100 and it consisted of a main tower, chancel and nave. It was later extended, but the construction was probably interrupted when archbishop’s seat was moved to Gamla Uppsala in the 12th century. St. Olof's church has been influenced by the Nidaros Cathedral in Norway, while the small tapering windows have an Anglo-Saxon style. The church is dedicated to the N ...
Founded: ca.1100 | Location: Sigtuna, Sweden

St. Gertrud's Chapel Ruins

The chapel was built in 1460-1470s and sanctified to St. Gertrude of Nivelles (her picture is carved to the tympanum of chapel). There are also frescoes of Ivar Axelsson Tott and his wife Magdalena. The chapel was part of the St. Jacob’s monastery and destroyed by Lübeck army (as well as many other churches) in 1525.
Founded: 1460-1470s | Location: Visby, Sweden

St. Nicholas' Church Ruins

The church of St. Nicholas was originally part of the Dominican monastery built in the 1230s. It was destroyed by Lübeck army in 1525. The church has a beautiful rose window in the gable. In a summer season the St. Nicholas church ruins are a venue for musical “Petrus de Dacia”, who was the priory of monastery between 1283-1289.
Founded: 1230s | Location: Visby, Sweden

Brahehus Castle Ruins

Brahehus Castle was built by Per Brahe between 1637 and 1650s. Soon after Per Brahe died in 1680 Brahehus was abandoned and moved as a Crown property in the Great Reduction under Charles XI of Sweden. In 1708 the castle was destroyed by fire and not rebuilt anymore. From the ruins you have a fantastic view of lakes Vättern and Visingsö.
Founded: 1637-1650 | Location: Gränna, Sweden

Uraniborg Observatory Ruins

Uranienborg (Uraniborg) was a Danish astronomical observatory operated by Tycho Brahe. It was built circa 1576-1580. Shortly after its construction the observatory was expanded with an underground facility, Stjerneborg, on an adjacent site. The building was dedicated to Urania, the Muse of Astronomy and named Uranienborg, "The Castle of Urania." It was the first custom-built observatory, and the last to be built without a ...
Founded: 1576 | Location: Sankt Ibb, 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

Trelleborgen Viking Fortress

Trelleborg is a collective name for six Viking Age circular forts, located in Denmark and the southern part of modern Sweden. Five of them have been dated to the reign of the Harold Bluetooth of Denmark (died 986). The city of Trelleborg has been named after one of these fortresses. Today Trelleborgen is part of a Viking Age fortress complex, which has been reconstructed. There is a Viking musem with souvenir shop ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Visingsborg Castle Ruins

The foundations of Visingsborg Castle date from 1560s. It was square formed with a moat four towers. The Brahe Family lived in Visingsborg Castle during the 16th and 17th centuries. During their time was one of the most impressive buildings in Sweden. Sculptures and paintings embellished the walls and a large number of books filled the library. The castle also had an armoury that equipped up to 800 soldiers. Outside the w ...
Founded: 1560s | Location: Visingsö, Sweden

Kronoberg Castle Ruins

Kronoberg Castle is a medieval ruin located on an island in lake Helgasjön. In 1444 Lars Mikaelson, the bishop of Växjö, built a stone building on the lakeshore. During the Dano-Swedish War of 1470-1471, Danish forces destroyed the house. It was reconstructed and fortified after peace was restored in 1472. During the Swedish Reformation the castle and its estate were confiscated by Gustav Vasa. In 1542, during the Dac ...
Founded: 1472 | Location: Växjö, Sweden

St. Peter's Church Ruins

St. Peter's Church have been probably built in two phases during the 12th century.The eastern part with chancel, transept and central tower were erected first during the late 1100's, while the nave and the present west tower were added later. According the tradition the church was used as a bishop’s cathedral until 1130 when the bishop's seat was moved to Gamla Uppsala. The another legend believes the church has be ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Sigtuna, 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

Gräfsnäs Castle Ruins

Gräfsnäs Castle today consists of a heavily restored main building with barred windows and surrounding dry moat. The ruins are remnants of the original palatial fortress built in Swedish-French Renaissance style. The castle, which met with such a tragic fate, was constructed in c. 1571 and belonged to many different owners (like Leijonhufvud, Sparre and Holstein-Augustenburg families) before it was finally aband ...
Founded: c. 1571 | Location: Sollebrunn, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Wawel Castle

Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Kraków, have provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century. Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight. Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislane tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Miesco I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslas the Brave (992-1025) and Miesco II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.

At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Kraków was established in the year 1000.

During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Kraków was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Kraków along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.

In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill. Around that time, at the initiative of Ladislas the Short, the construction of the third Gothic cathedral began, the castle was expanded and the old wooden and earthen fortifications were replaced by brick ones. The tomb of Ladislas the Short in the cathedral started a royal necropolis of Polish kings in Krakow.The last descendant of the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370) brought Wawel to a state of unprecedented splendour. In 1364 the expanded gothic castle witnessed the marriage of Casimir’s granddaughter Elizabeth to Charles IV accompanied by a famous convention of kings and princes, subsequently entertained by a rich burgher Wierzynek. The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel. The royal court employed local and western European artists and also Rus painters. During the reign of Casimir Jagiellon (1447-1492) the silhouette of the hill was enriched by three high brick towers: the Thieves’ Tower, the Sandomierz Tower and the Senatorial Tower. The first humanists in Poland and tutors to the king’s sons: historian Jan Długosz and an Italian by the name Filippo Buonacorsi (also known as Callimachus) worked there at that time.

The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Sigismund’s patronage also left an indelible impression in the cathedral, where a family chapel was erected, known today as Sigismund’s Chapel - the work of Bartolomeo of Berrecci Florence, and through various foundations, one of which was that of a large bell, called the Sigismund to commemorate the king. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza. Alongside Italian artists, German architects, wood workers, painters and metal smiths worked for the king. The last descendant of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), enriched the castle’s interiors with a magnificent collection of tapestries woven in Brussels. In the “Golden Age” of Polish culture Wawel became one of the main centres of humanism in Europe.

The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style. The relocation of the royal court to Warsaw was the cause of a slow but nevertheless steady deterioration in the castle’s condition. The monarchs visited Kraków only occasionally. Restoration of the castle was undertaken during the reign of John III Sobieski, the Wettins and Stanislas Augustus to counteract neglect.

After Poland had lost its independence in 1795, the troops of partitioning nations, Russia, Prussia and Austria, subsequently occupied Wawel which finally passed into the hands of the Austrians. The new owners converted the castle and some of the secular buildings into a military hospital, and demolished some others, including churches. After the period of the Free City of Kraków (1815-1846) Wawel was once more annexed by Austria and turned into a citadel dominating the city. By the resolution passed by the Seym of Galicia in 1880, the castle was presented as a residence to the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I. The Austrian troops left the hill between 1905-1911. At the turn of the 20th century a thorough restoration of the cathedral was conducted, and shortly afterwards a process of restoration of the royal castle began which lasted several decades.

When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the castle served as an official residence of the Head of State, and as a museum of historic interiors. During the Nazi occupation the castle was the residence of the German governor general, Hans Frank. Polish people managed to remove the most valuable objects, including the tapestries and the “Szczerbiec” coronation sword to Canada, from where they returned as late as 1959-1961. At present, the main curators of Wawel are Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection and the Metropolitan Basilica Board on Wawel Hill.