The Churches of Gotland


Nave and choir were built in the last, flowering phase of early Gothic, with fancifully moulded portals and a high-vaulted, harmonious interior. The master builder began erecting the tower, but not until about 1350 was this brought up to full height (60m) by "Egypticus". The portal sculptures are characteristic of him: a prostrate man holding a fish, undoubtably the Swedish saint Botvid, and a boat with two men, a scene alluding to the legend of St Botvid. The interior is decorated with elegant vault paintings, a speciality of the Gotlandic early Gothic., and a comprehensive wall-series by the "Passion master". Of the stained glass panes in the choir windows only six are original, from the mid-thirteenth century: the Nativity of Christ, the Presentation, the Baptism of Christ, the Raising of Lazarus, Magdalen washing the feet of Christ and the Transfiguration; the others were put in at the restoration in 1917. The Calvary group in the rood arch is a Gotlandic work from the second half of the 14th century, connected with the "Gammelgarn group". The pulpit is exactly dated "the 20:th of July 1595", but it was painted and completed in 1664. Thirty years later the big altar piece from Burgsvik was set up.

Photo Hans Hemlin

Text Dr. Bengt G Söderberg


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List of the churches in alphabetical order

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