The Church of the Holy Cross

Hattula, Finland

Hattula Church is one of the oldest brick buildings in Finland. It was built in the 15th century and dedicated to the Holy Cross. Wall paintings are from the 16th century. The porch in front of the hall was built in the 16th century of grey stone and bell tower in 1813.

Unique for having been built almost entirely of brick rather than stone, the church was a popular pilgrimage destination during the Middle Ages. A grey stone perimeter wall was added in the 16th century. The church contains paintings from the years 1510 through 1922, as well as 40 wooden sculptures dating to the first half of the 14th century. Precious-metal crowns which had formerly belonged to the church were confiscated during the Reformation. The church pulpit, dating to 1550, is the oldest surviving pulpit in Finland. A second pulpit was built in the 17th century.

The Hattula church is known for its lime paint frescoes done in late Gothic style, likely completed by the same group of artists who later painted the St. Lars church in Lohja.

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Details

Founded: 1440-1490
Category: Religious sites in Finland
Historical period: Middle Ages (Finland)

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

pesa64 (2 years ago)
Great place. First text where comment of this place is year 1324!!!
Seppo Venäläinen (3 years ago)
Upea paikka.
Petri Sisäharju (3 years ago)
Hieno kirkko niin sisältä kuin ulkoa.
Vesa Savolainen (3 years ago)
Tee pyhiinvaellusmatka Hattulan vanhaan kirkkoon. Aisti entisaikojen tunnelma, ihastele kaunista kirkkoa, joka seisoo näkyvällä paikalla Hattulan historiallisella alueella.
Jari Sundman (3 years ago)
Kaunis kirkko kokonaisuudessaan, aitoa vanhaa rakenmustaitoa jota ei kukaan ole tärvellyt pilalle. Sisältä vielä hienompi kuin ulkoa, Itse saarnastuoli upea, eikä seinämaalauksia voi ihastelematts sivuuttaa, näkemisen arvoinen kokonaisuus.
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Quimper Cathedral

From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.

The four circular pillars mark the start of the building site, but the four following adopt a lozenge-shaped layout which could indicate a change of project manager. The clumsiness of the vaulted archways of the north ambulatory, the start of the ribbed vaults at the height of the south ambulatory or the choice of the vaults descending in spoke-form from the semi-circle which allows the connection of the axis chapel to the choir – despite the manifest problems of alignment – conveys the hesitancy and diverse influences in the first phase of works which spread out until the start of the 14th century.

At the same time as this facade was built (to which were added the north and south gates) the building of the nave started in the east and would finish by 1460. The nave is made up of six bays with one at the level of the facade towers and flanked by double aisles – one wide and one narrow (split into side chapels) – in an extension of the choir arrangements.

The choir presents four right-hand bays with ambulatory and side chapels. It is extended towards the east of 3-sided chevet which opens onto a semi-circle composed of five chapels and an apsidal chapel of two bays and a flat chevet consecrated to Our Lady.

The three-level elevation with arches, triforium and galleries seems more uniform and expresses anglo-Norman influence in the thickness of the walls (Norman passageway at the gallery level) or the decorative style (heavy mouldings, decorative frieze under the triforium). This building site would have to have been overseen in one shot. Undoubtedly interrupted by the war of Succession (1341-1364) it draws to a close with the building of the lierne vaults (1410) and the fitting of stained-glass windows. Bishop Bertrand de Rosmadec and Duke Jean V, whose coat of arms would decorate these vaults, finished the chancel before starting on the building of the facade and the nave.

Isolated from its environment in the 19th century, the cathedral was – on the contrary – originally very linked to its surroundings. Its site and the orientation of the facade determined traffic flow in the town. Its positioning close to the south walls resulted in particuliarities such as the transfer of the side gates on to the north and south facades of the towers: the southern portal of Saint Catherine served the bishop’s gate and the hospital located on the left bank (the current Préfecture) and the north gate was the baptismal porch – a true parish porch with its benches and alcoves for the Apostles’ statues turned towards the town, completed by an ossuary (1514).

The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.

At the start of the 16th century the construction of the spires was being prepared when building was interrupted, undoubtedly for financial reasons. Small conical roofs were therefore placed on top of the towers. The following centuries were essentially devoted to putting furnishings in place (funeral monuments, altars, statues, organs, pulpit). Note the fire which destroyed the spire of the transept cross in 1620 as well as the ransacking of the cathedral in 1793 when nearly all the furnishings disappeared in a « bonfire of the saints ».

The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.