The Churches of Gotland


The exterior is not much like that of other Gotlandic churches. The tower is placed over the south-west corner of the nave, and even other architectonic peculiarities can be discerned. This is because one originally had in mind to build a three-aisled basilica, but of that building only the chancel, the transept and a central tower were completed. That far the building had proceeded by about 1250. Of all this now only the tower and the principal part of the northern transept, remain. The nave was built in a stunted shape (the fundaments are marked with stone slabs to the west of the tower), and at the beginning of the 14th century the complete part was thoroughly rebuilt, at which the chancel and the southern transept were pulled down. An unusually complicated history. The church has more medieval wooden sculptures than any other church in the island. On the altar stands a Calvary group from the workshop led by the Öja-master. The present Calvary group in the rood arch has been attributed to the master of the altar piece in Gammelgarn (second half of the 14th century). There is a Man of Sorrows (mid-fifteenth century), a St George from about 1400 and some figures from a contemporary altar piece. In 1778 the church was struck by lightning and the plaster fell down from the walls except where the Passion series was painted. This the parishioners thought to be a miracle and had them restored instead of having them overplastered.

Photo Hans Hemlin

Text Dr. Bengt G Söderberg


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List of the churches in alphabetical order

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