The medieval church of Solna is a so-called round church. The oldest part of the church, the roundhouse, originates from the late 12th century, and was especially built for defense purposes. Attached to this round center is a weaponhouse (south), a rectangular choir to the east, and a rectangular nave to the west. North of the choir is the sacristy, and to the east an octagonal grave choir. There is a second grave choir on the south side of the nave. The roundhouse (central tower) is covered by a tall cupola, which dominates the appearance of the church. The choir was added in the 13th century. The oldest part of the nave is from the 14th century, and was extended during the 15th century, when the weaponhouse and sacristy were built.
The church achieved large parts of its interior under the patronage of Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie. In 1674 the western portal was added, a sculptured portal originally constructed for Karlbergs slott in 1637, and moved to Solna church in 1674. In 1708 Queen Ulrika Eleonora commissioned a grave choir dedicated to count Tomas Polus. The roof was destroyed in a fire in 1723, and the current cupola was built after this incident. The Lange grave choir was constructed in the 1780s. In 1883 the church was given a roof of copper plates. A major restoration took place in 1928 under supervision of architect Erik Fant, when the church's medieval paintings were recovered. The medieval murals from ca. 1440 are attributed to Albertus Pictor.
The choir is dominated by the altar centre-piece, sculpted in wood in 1666 by Hans Jerling. The centre-piece frames two oil paintings with biblical motifs, and is crowned by a wood-sculptured Madonna from the late 16th century, while the altar is made of brick and covered by a limestone plate.References:
Eketorp is an Iron Age fort in southeastern Öland, which was extensively reconstructed and enlarged in the Middle Ages. Throughout the ages the fortification has served a variety of somewhat differing uses: from defensive ringfort, to medieval safe haven and thence a cavalry garrison. In the 20th century it was further reconstructed to become a heavily visited tourist site and a location for re-enactment of medieval battles. Eketorp is the only one of the 19 known prehistoric fortifications on Öland that has been completely excavated, yielding a total of over 24,000 individual artifacts. The entirety of southern Öland has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Eketorp fortification is often referred to as Eketorp Castle.
The indigenous peoples of the Iron Age constructed the original fortification about 400 AD, a period known to have engendered contact between Öland natives with Romans and other Europeans. The ringfort in that era is thought to have been a gathering place for religious ceremonies and also a place of refuge for the local agricultural community when an outside enemy appeared. The circular design was believed to be chosen because the terrain is so level that attack from any side was equally likely. The original diameter of this circular stone fortification was about 57 metres. In the next century the stone was moved outward to construct a new circular structure of about 80 metres in diameter. At this juncture there were known to be about fifty individual cells or small structures within the fort as a whole. Some of these cells were in the center of the fortified ring, and some were actually built into the wall itself.
In the late 600s AD the ringfort was mysteriously abandoned, and it remained unused until the early 11th century. This 11th century work generally built upon the earlier fort, except that stone interior cells were replaced with timber structures, and a second outer defensive wall was erected.
Presently the fort is used as a tourist site for visitors to Öland to experience a medieval fortification for this region. A museum within the castle walls displays a few of the large number of artefacts retrieved by the National Heritage Board during the major decade long excavation ending in 1974. Inside the fort visitors are greeted by actors in medieval costumes who assume the roles of period artisans and merchants who might have lived there nine centuries earlier. There are also re-enactment scenes of skirmishes and other dramatic events of daily life from the Middle Ages.
Eketorp lies a few kilometers west of Route 136. There is an ample unpaved parking area situated approximately two kilometers west of the paved Öland perimeter highway. There is also a gift shop on site. During peak summer visitation, there are guided tours available. Visitors are assessed an admission charge.