The Churches of Gotland

GARDA

With its steep-roofed lichgates, its slender tower and high chancel the church and churchyard form an imposing architectonic ensemble. The nave and the lower part of the tower belong to a church from about 1100; the chancel, with a splendid portal, was built by"Egypticus" about 1330-40. The chief marvels of the church are the Russo-Byzantine mural paintings and the Romanesque roof-truss, probably the oldest one in Sweden (only to be seen in the attic); it is supposed to have been originally open to the nave. Of the paintings the two solemn saints in the tower arch have never been covered with Plaster. The others are very fragmentary (uncovered in the 1960s) but show, in places their very high artistic standard. They were probably executed by a Russian (or Greek) artist who decorated the church in Staraja Ladoga in Russia at the end of the 12th century. ln the same purely Byzantine style the sculptor "Byzantios", who made the baptismal font, worked.

Photo Hans Hemlin

Text Dr. Bengt G Söderberg


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