The Churches of Gotland


Remnants of an older church have been found under the floor of the present one. It was a towerless apsidial church, from which a great many relief-decorated facade ashlars have survived in the huge church which was built in the mid-fourteenth century by "Egypticus". These sculptures show disconnected pieces from a long frieze describing a hunt, possibly a motif from the Nordic saga of Teodorich the Great (Didric of Bern). They are ascribed to master Sighraf, who also made the baptismal font. To the Romanesque church was added about 1200 the present tower with a portal decorated with reliefs representing fabulous beasts by "Calcarius" (see Fole). The grotesque troll ;faces, characteristic of "Egypticus" are staring at the visitor from the magnificent nave portal, through which he enters into a light three aisled nave, opening to the chancel with a wide, profiled chancel arch with a Rood from the middle of the 13th century. In the chancel are vault- and wallpaintings by the "Egypticus-painter", characterized, among other things, by the ferocious dragons in the vault. The Egypticus-building was completed with the installation of stained glass panes in the eastern windows. An interesting piece is the pulpit, dated 1548 and decorated with the Danish arms of the kingdom and portraits of Luther, Melanchton, emperor Charles V and other prominent persons of the Reformation. Originally it was given to the church of St Mary in Visby by the Danish governor Eiler Hardenberg. The paintings in the nave vaults are from the 18th century and the pews were decorated with very beautiful flower paintings in the 1740 s.

Photo Hans Hemlin

Text Dr. Bengt G Söderberg


 Back to map


List of the churches in alphabetical order

©1997 Created by Sören_Gannholm