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Beautiful historical churches and cathedrals in Stockholm, Sweden

Tags: church

Embarking on a journey through Stockholm’s historical churches is a glimpse into architectural marvels spanning centuries. Each Church boasts a unique allure, weaving tales of history, faith, and remarkable craftsmanship.

From the grandeur of Storkyrkan, adorned with a rich tapestry of medieval origins, to the elegant Gustaf Vasa Church, epitomizing Nordic Baroque, and the majestic Riddarholmen Church, the final resting place of Swedish monarchs, the city’s religious landmarks beckon with their distinctive styles.

The Gustaf Adolf Church and Saint James’s Church reflect neoclassical elegance, while the Adolf Fredrik Church stands as a testament to Swedish Palladianism. From the German Church’s northern Renaissance splendor to the modernist lines of the Högalid Church, Stockholm’s religious mosaic is richly diverse.

Among these treasures, the towering spire of St. Eric’s Cathedral and the royal grandeur of The Royal Chapel stand tall, beckoning visitors into a world where history, art, and spirituality converge.

Join this exploration of Stockholm’s sacred heritage, a journey through time in stone and stained glass. We also have another article that I hope you will enjoy, about the historical landmarks of Stockholm.

Storkyrkan (Stockholm Cathedral)

Storkyrkan, known as Stockholm Cathedral, is Stockholm’s oldest church in Gamla stan. Consecrated to Saint Nicholas in 1306, its construction likely started in the 13th century.

The late medieval hall church has a vaulted ceiling supported by brick pillars but underwent Baroque alterations. It played a pivotal role in Sweden’s Reformation, hosting the first Swedish Mass. Currently, it serves as the Bishop of Stockholm’s seat since the Diocese of Stockholm’s creation in 1942.

Storkyrkan (Stockholm Cathedral) – ink and watercolor

Historically linked to the Swedish royal family, Storkyrkan witnessed significant events and served as a coronation site for centuries. Notably, Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling wed here in 2010. The church commemorates military victories, national tragedies, and hosts funerals for notable figures like Astrid Lindgren and Sara Danius.

Storkyrkan houses invaluable artworks, including a medieval sculpture of Saint George and the Dragon, Vädersolstavlan portraying early Stockholm, and the silver altarpiece depicting Christ’s life.

Its Baroque exterior and medieval interiors reveal captivating architecture. Furnishings like the baptismal font and a bronze candelabrum echo its rich history. The church displays significant paintings by David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl and ornate royal pews and pulpit by Burchard Precht.

Graves and monuments within the church signify its prestigious past as a burial ground. Elaborate tombs and one of the world’s oldest votive ships underscore its historical significance.

Storkyrkan serves as a venue for musical performances, showcasing its Marcussen & Søn organ and nurturing various choirs, including the Storkyrkans Gosskör.

A fusion of art, history, and religious significance, Storkyrkan embodies Stockholm’s heritage within its Baroque exterior and medieval interiors.

Gustaf Vasa Church

The Gustaf Vasa Church, nestled in Stockholm’s Vasastaden district, stands as an architectural gem with a rich history. Consecrated in 1906 and paying homage to King Gustav Vasa, the church was envisioned by Agi Lindegren in the Baroque Revival style.

Its commanding dome, soaring 60 meters above Odenplan plaza, crowns the skyline between bustling avenues. The church’s interior, fashioned in the shape of a Greek cross, accommodates 1,200 worshippers, marking its place among Stockholm’s largest churches.

Within this ecclesiastical haven, the altar, a towering masterpiece rising 15 meters, crafted by Burchard Precht, stands as Sweden’s largest Baroque-style sculpture. Viktor Andren’s masterful frescoes, portraying Jesus’s Transfiguration and other biblical scenes, grace the dome’s interior.

The church’s organ, meticulously designed to composer Otto Olsson’s desires, resonates with 76 voices across three manuals and pedals.

Stepping outside, the church’s exterior is a symphony of architectural detail. Its commanding tower, encased in copper plates, stands proud amidst a series of quadrilateral structures, culminating in a majestic entrance adorned with intricate stonework. Each portal, a masterpiece by Alfred Ohlson, bears unique inscriptions and elaborate sculptures, narrating tales of history and faith.

The church’s design, both ornate and grand, invites visitors into a world where architectural magnificence meets spiritual contemplation.

The Gustaf Adolf Church

Gustaf Adolf Church – watercolor painting

The Gustaf Adolf Church, nestled within Gustaf Adolf Park in Östermalm, stands as a testament to Swedish heritage. Conceived by architect Carl Möller and inaugurated in 1892, this church originally served as a garrison church for the Svea Lifeguards before becoming part of the Church of Sweden’s Oscar Parish.

Its history intertwines with Swedish royalty, named after King Gustav II Adolf and inaugurated on the anniversary of his death in 1892. Threatened with demolition or repurposing, it found a renewed purpose as a church for the Oscar Parish in 1938, later acquired by the parish in 1964.

Architecturally, Carl Möller’s design reflects neo-Gothic influences on a smaller scale. The asymmetrical plan, showcasing Anglo-Saxon influences, features a lower northern aisle with a square tower housing the main entrance.

The exterior, adorned with red machine-cut bricks on a granite base, exhibits neo-Gothic elements like the west portal depicting St. George and the dragon, and a relief of Gustav II Adolf.

The interior once boasted paintings by Agi Lindegren, now largely replaced by white plaster. Noteworthy are Cecilia Bachér’s arched windows portraying Swedish kings and historical events, crafted according to Möller’s sketches.

The church’s woodwork, including benches, pulpit, and altarpiece, were handcrafted by recruits from the regiment’s carpentry school under Lieutenant John Klingspor.

The Gustaf Adolf Church stands not only as a place of worship but also as a cultural heritage site, protected by Swedish law. Its historical significance and architectural grandeur make it a vital piece of Stockholm’s cultural tapestry.

Saint James’s Church

The Saint James’s Church, known as Sankt Jacobs kyrka in Swedish, stands in central Stockholm, honoring the Apostle Saint James the Greater, patron saint of travelers. Often confused as St. Jacob’s due to language similarities, this church holds a central place amidst Stockholm’s notable landmarks like Kungsträdgården park, the Royal Opera, and Gustav Adolfs torg square.

Constructed over centuries, the church boasts a blend of architectural styles: Late Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque. Architects like Willem Boy, Hans Ferster, Göran Joshuae Adelcrantz, Carl Hårleman, Carl Möller, and Agi Lindegren have lent their designs to its evolution.

The church’s history is intertwined with Stockholm’s urban growth. Originally a chapel, mentioned in records from 1311, it underwent numerous reconstructions and expansions. King John III’s orders in 1580 marked the beginning of the present church’s construction by Heinrich van Huwen.

Further extensions in 1630, overseen by Klas Flemming and carried out by Hans Ferster, led to the addition of star-ribbed vaults and Renaissance gables.

Destruction struck in 1723 with a fire that ravaged the roof, prompting subsequent renovations and redesigns by architects like Göran Joshuae Adelcrantz and Carl Hårleman. The 19th century saw significant interior alterations, including heating and lighting modifications.

Carl Möller and Agi Lindegren further revitalized the church’s appearance with a Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Baroque aesthetic, respectively.

The church today, following exterior restorations in the 20th century, stands as a testament to Stockholm’s architectural history, housing a varied blend of styles within its walls.

Adolf Fredrik Church

The Adolf Fredrik Church, situated in central Stockholm, was built between 1768 and 1774, replacing a 1674 wooden chapel dedicated to Saint Olof. It was inaugurated on November 27, 1774.

René Descartes was initially buried in its cemetery in 1650, commemorated with a memorial by Gustav III. Other notable figures interred there include Prime Minister Olof Palme, physicist Carl Benedicks, and composer Anders Eliasson.

The church, part of the Adolf Fredrik parish in Stockholm, was designed by architect Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz. King Adolf Fredrik laid its cornerstone in 1768. The structure blends gustavian and rococo styles with a predominantly white exterior, copper-colored roofs, and golden embellishments.

Its interior, revamped in 1893–1895 and restored in the 1990s, houses notable artworks like Johan Tobias Sergel’s altarpiece depicting the Resurrection of Jesus and the Cartesius Monument honoring René Descartes.

With a capacity of approximately 800 individuals, the church features a crystal baptismal font from Orrefors Glasbruk, a significant artifact alongside the preserved original altar and pulpit. Despite later interior modifications, it remains a revered site for its history, architectural amalgamation, and revered interments.

The German Church

The German Church, also known as the Deutsche Kirche or Sankta Gertruds kyrka, resides in Stockholm’s Gamla stan, or old town. It’s affiliated with the German Saint Gertrude Parish of the Church of Sweden, nestled amidst streets like Tyska Brinken, Kindstugatan, Svartmangatan, and Prästgatan.

Named after Saint Gertrude, this church holds historical significance within a neighborhood historically dominated by Germans in the Middle Ages. The German guild of St. Gertrude, established in the 14th century, laid the foundation for the present-day church.

The German Church (Tyska kyrkan) at sunset – watercolor

Architects like Wilhelm Boy, Hubert de Besche, and Hans Jacob Kristler contributed to its construction, evolving the building from guild headquarters to a two-nave church by 1642.

The church became a hub for German ecclesiastical activities after King Gustav Vasa permitted separate services in 1558. By 1571, a German parish emerged, pioneering German ecclesiastical presence beyond Germany. Over time, the church flourished, hosting a German school and becoming a center for church music in Sweden during the 17th century.

In 1878, a Neo-Gothic spire designed by Julius Carl Raschdorff adorned the church. Its unique Neogothic features, including gargoyles, stand as peculiarities in Swedish architectural history. The interior, with Baroque-style elements, features a grand altar by Markus Hebel and a majestic “king’s gallery” crafted by Nicodemus Tessin the Elder.

Today, the German Church, despite a dwindling congregation by 1800, serves around 2,000 members across Stockholm. Services in German continue every Sunday, preserving the church’s rich heritage and historical significance.

The Riddarholmen Church

The Riddarholmen Church, originally part of the Greyfriars Monastery in Stockholm, serves as the final resting place for many Swedish monarchs. Situated on Riddarholmen Island near the Royal Palace, it ceased congregational use in 1807 and is now exclusively dedicated to burial and commemorations.

This church holds the remains of Swedish rulers spanning centuries, from Gustav Adolf to Gustaf V, excluding Queen Christina interred in St. Peter’s Basilica. While it was historically the royal burial site, that role transitioned to the Royal Cemetery, and the church is presently managed by Swedish governmental departments and the Royal Court.

Its architectural style reflects its varied history, showcasing Northern European Gothic and baroque influences. Parts of the structure date back to the late 13th century when it was erected as a monastery. Following the Reformation, it transformed into a Lutheran church, embellished later with a spire designed by Willem Boy.

The church also honors the Royal Order of the Seraphim, displaying the coats of arms of its knights. Upon a knight’s passing, their coat of arms adorns the walls, and during their funeral, the church bells toll uninterrupted from noon to 1 PM, symbolizing their departure.

Katarina Church

The Katarina Church stands as a prominent structure in central Stockholm, initially built between 1656 and 1695. Ravaged by fires twice, the second time in the 1990s, it underwent extensive reconstruction, spearheaded by architect Ove Hidemark, culminating in its reopening in 1995. The church’s history is entwined with the namesake parish and the adjacent Sofia parish, forming the Katarina-Sofia borough.

Its inception during Charles X’s rule honored Princess Catherine, mother to the king, and wife to John Casimir. Initially designed by Jean de la Vallée, the church’s construction encountered significant delays due to financial constraints.

In 1723, a devastating fire razed the church and half the parish buildings, prompting immediate reconstruction led by architect Göran Josua Adelcrantz. His vision included an enlarged octagonal tower.

The church’s rebirth after the 1990 fire showcased modern restoration efforts, notably the creation of a new organ by J. L. van den Heuvel Orgelbouw in the Netherlands. The cemetery surrounding the church grounds hosts the resting places of illustrious figures like Anna Lindh, Cornelis Vreeswijk, Sven Bergqvist, Einár, and Sten Sture the Elder.

Karl XII’s Stair, a distinctive feature leading to the church’s southern entrance, bears ornate railings and a royal monogram, dedicated to King Charles XII, symbolizing its historical significance. Crafted by Blacksmith Benjamin Roth, this staircase echoes the church’s rich history and architectural prowess.

Oscar’s Church

Oscar’s Church, a significant landmark in Stockholm, accommodates 1,200 individuals within its three-aisled hall. It features an imposing 80-meter-high tower and stands in the southeastern part of Östermalm, near the intersection of Storgatan and Narvavägen, adjacent to the Swedish History Museum.

The church overlooks Narvavägen, one of the city’s prominent boulevards adorned with grand residential palaces.

Inaugurated in 1903 following a design competition won by Gustaf Hermansson, the church bears the name of King Oscar II, who laid its foundation stone in 1897.

Initially criticized for its Gothic Revival style, it underwent numerous renovations, including the alteration of the original brick-clad plan to a white limestone and marble façade. Delays due to foundation issues, non-deliveries, and labor strikes postponed its consecration until 1903.

The interior saw significant changes during the 1900s, notably in 1921–1923 when new stained glass windows, designed by Emanuel Vigeland, were added under architect Lars Israel Wahlman’s direction. In 1954–1956, modifications to the altarpiece and ornamental ceiling decorations further enhanced the interior.

The church’s main organ, constructed in 1949 by the Danish firm Marcussen & Søn, remains one of Sweden’s largest with 78 voices and over 5,200 pipes. John Lundqvist’s gold-bronze altarpiece replaced Hermansson’s neo-Gothic one during the second restoration, depicting life and death in high relief figures, inspired by medieval triptychs. The original altarring, designed by Hermansson, remains from 1903.

Several additions, including a new baptismal font by sculptor John Lundqvist in 1957 and decorative paintings by artist Filip Månsson in the 1920s, contributed to the church’s visual allure and character, underscoring its historical and artistic significance.

St. Matthew’s Church

St. Matthew’s Church, situated in Stockholm’s Vasastaden district, was initially conceived as a chapel in the Adolf Fredrik Parish. Designed by Erik Lallerstedt, its construction spanned 1901–1903 at the crossing of Vanadisvägen and Dalagatan. It was originally intended to host charitable activities for the working-class neighborhood.

Transforming from a chapel into a parish church occurred during 1907–1908 under Lallerstedt’s guidance, prompted by the parish division. Adolf Fredrik Parish’s extensive discussions about subdivision and the need for new church sites led to the proposal of constructing two chapels, eventually establishing St. Matthew’s Church.

Architectural resemblances to St. Peter’s Church in Norrmalm, another Lallerstedt creation, are noticeable in St. Matthew’s design. Constructed in a Jugendstil style infused with elements of Neo-Gothic, the building is reminiscent of Ferdinand Boberg’s architectural influence.

Externally, the church sits on a granite base with the western façade and parts of the first floor covered in dressed limestone. Ornate features, including an octagonal tower on the western façade and windows on multiple levels, accentuate the structure. The imposing spire, adorned with limestone cladding, culminates in a copper-roofed turret.

The interior boasts a limestone staircase leading to a vestibule, featuring whitewashed walls and cross vaults. The central nave, flanked by side aisles, is demarcated by rounded arches resting on limestone columns with gilded capitals.

The chancel, narrower than the nave, displays mural paintings by Olle Hjortzberg depicting figurative scenes, while decorative artworks by Filip Månsson embellish the space. The intricate window glasswork portraying the Resurrection of Jesus reflects Hjortzberg’s inspired touch.

The Högalid Church

The Högalid Church, an architecturally significant landmark in Stockholm’s Södermalm district, was designed by architect Ivar Tengbom and constructed between 1916 and 1923. Situated on elevated terrain that was later transformed into a park, it stands as one of the city’s notable structures, offering views across Riddarfjärden towards the contemporary Stockholm City Hall.

The church exemplifies the National Romantic architectural style and was commissioned in 1905 by the Maria Magdalena parish. After a design competition that included proposals from architects Konrad Elméus, Ivar Tengbom, and Georg A. Nilsson, Tengbom’s plan, favored by influential architect Carl Westman, was chosen for its two towers, complementing the city hall’s architecture across the water.

Built with dark red bricks in a basilica style under a pitched roof, the church features a narrower chancel flanked by tall towers, reminiscent of Mariakyrkan in Visby. The west facade showcases high windows with stained glass by Oscar Brandtberg and three grand entrances adorned with sculptural granite frames. Inside, the church boasts decorative frescoes by Filip Månsson, and in 1939, a columbarium was constructed based on Tengbom’s designs.

The north tower, symbolizing the law, and the south tower, symbolizing the gospel, stand at 84 meters in height, seeming to compete in stature due to an urban legend of two sisters’ differing contributions to their construction. However, laser scans have revealed minor height variations, perhaps due to the craftsmanship during construction.

Internally, the church features a vaulted nave with robust inner buttresses, forming niches along the sides. Tengbom and notable artists like Olle Hjortzberg and Gunnar Torhamn contributed to the church’s intricate decorative elements, including frescoes and mosaic work, enriching its cultural and historical significance in Stockholm.

Engelbrekt Church

The Engelbrekt Church in Stockholm embodies the National Romantic style, erected between 1910 and 1914 by Lars Israel Wahlman. Named after 15th-century rebel leader Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson, it sits atop a hill, preserving the natural rock formation below.

Seating 1,400, the church features a cruciform layout, drawing from Byzantine architecture with a soaring 32-meter-high nave, Scandinavia’s tallest. Renowned globally, it retains its original form, epitomizing Swedish Art Nouveau and National Romanticism.

Laid in 1910 atop Kvarnberget, the church blends Jugendstil and romanticism, influencing local housing aesthetics like Uppenbarelsekyrkan in Saltsjöbaden.

The interior adopts a Greek cross layout with expansive transepts, ensuring clear views of the altar and pulpit. Wahlman’s detailed touch extends to furnishings, adorned by artists like Olle Hjortzberg, Tore Strindberg, and Filip Månsson.

Clad in red-brown patterned brick, the exterior boasts grand gables and a copper-adorned roof, complementing the granite base with parallel lines. The 99-meter asymmetrical tower ends in a golden crown symbolizing the congregation as Christ’s bride.

Careful restoration in 1992–1993 and subsequent work in 2014 and 2018 preserved the church’s integrity. Refurbishments, notably the tower’s gilt details, honored its timeless significance. The adjoining Engelbrekt Parish House, also by Wahlman, harmonizes with the church, enriching the area’s heritage.

St Peter and St Sigfrid’s Church

St. Peter and St. Sigfrid’s Church, often called the English Church, is an Anglican church in Stockholm, Sweden. Erected in the 1860s for the British community, it was initially positioned on Rörstrandsgatan in Norrmalm before being meticulously relocated stone by stone to Östermalm’s Diplomatstaden in 1913.

Affiliated with the Church of England’s Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe, the church honors Saint Peter and Saint Sigfrid. Anglican practices in Sweden trace back to 1653, accompanying English diplomats sent by Oliver Cromwell. Services were held initially at the residence of the ambassador.

Later, a combined Anglo-French Huguenot congregation formed with services conducted in French and English. In 1849, the first regularly appointed chaplain, Rev. Frederick Spurrell, arrived in Stockholm. A decade later, funds were gathered to construct the church on Rörstrandsgatan, later consecrated in 1866 by the Episcopal Bishop of Illinois.

Efforts led to its relocation near the British embassy in 1913, orchestrated by Crown Princess Margaret. Architect A. E. Melander supervised the reconstruction, adding a vestry and extending the nave in nine months.

The Gothic Revival-style church, crafted from Södertälje and Motala sandstone, was designed by James Souttar and built by Albert Svennson. It features a restored weather vane and various adornments like stained glass windows, a hanging crucifix, and a triptych from Oberammergau. The interior also boasts an organ with 650 pipes and pews inscribed with Latin hymn words.

Sofia Church

Sofia Church, an architectural gem in Stockholm, was born from an 1899 competition and inaugurated in 1906. Positioned atop Vita Bergen park, it’s part of the Sofia parish in the Church of Sweden. Architect Gustaf Hermansson’s vision, built in transitional Romanesque style, began in 1902, funded by Katarina Parish through land sales to Stockholm city.

With a central plan and elongated transepts, the church features walls of light red granite with a copper-clad spire. Olle Hjortzberg’s paintings and stained glasswork adorn it, complemented by the clock tower crafted by Linderoths urfabrik.

Restoration work led by architect Lars Israel Wahlman in 1948–1951 refreshed the interior while preserving stained glass but replacing wall paintings. In 2012, another comprehensive renovation revitalized the church.

Among its treasures are a contemporary sandstone font, a renovated pulpit from 1948–1951, and three church bells by Johan A. Beckman & Co. The original organ from 1906 underwent partial relocation, with remnants reused in a new organ crafted in 1951. Sofia Church stands as a testament to history and artistry in Stockholm.

The St. Eric’s Cathedral

St. Eric’s Cathedral – digital painting

Saint Eric’s Cathedral, a Catholic cathedral in Stockholm, resides in Södermalm, the city’s southern region. Erected in 1892, it gained cathedral status in 1953 upon the establishment of the Catholic Diocese of Stockholm, the sole diocese in Sweden.

The cathedral’s expansion, designed by architects Hans Westman and Ylva Lenormand, was inaugurated in 1983 due to the surge in Stockholm and Sweden’s Catholic population, primarily post-World War II immigration. It commemorated the 200th anniversary of the re-establishment of the Catholic Church in Lutheran Sweden in 1783.

Named after Saint Eric, the 12th-century Swedish king and martyr, the cathedral symbolizes the patron saint of Stockholm, depicted in the city’s seal and coat of arms.

Originally, the site held the St. Eric’s Catholic Chapel in 1860, but the present-day church in the Nattugglan block was built between 1890 and 1892 by architect Axel Gillberg. Constructed in Neo-Romanesque style with red brick and grey plaster, the basilica featured a rosette window on its main facade and a cross flanked by two low towers.

A later extension in 1983 expanded the church with a new sanctuary and choir. An adjoining 27-meter concrete bell tower was erected, crowned with copper around Saint Eric’s martyr sword.

Today, the cathedral accommodates 600 individuals, with the newer section hosting 350, boasting a multifunctional hall for parish gatherings, concerts, and lectures.

It became the Catholic diocese in 1953, serving about 8,500 members and reflecting Stockholm’s multiculturalism by conducting services in multiple languages. As of 2011, the diocese had approximately 100,600 registered members, making it one of Sweden’s largest churches.

St. Peter’s Church

St. Peter’s Church, known as Sankt Peterskyrkan in Swedish, is situated in Stockholm’s Norrmalm district. Constructed between 1900 and 1901 in the Art Nouveau style by architect Erik Lallerstedt, it was originally built for the Methodists. After the 2011 merger, it became part of the Equmeniakyrkan congregation.

The building, integrated into the block, rests on a layer of cut limestone. Characterized by a Jugend style with hints of Neo-Gothic elements, the white-rendered tower stands aligned with the entrance, similar to Lallerstedt’s S:t Matteus Church.

Adorning the corner pillar is a sculpture in cut sandstone depicting Christ the Comforter surrounded by three figures seeking help and support. A rosette window faces Kammakargatan.

Initially, the pulpit occupied a corner of the sanctuary, later moved behind/above the altar, likely coinciding with the creation of the altar painting by Olle Hjortzberg in 1925.

The church’s organ, crafted by the South German firm Walcker Orgelbau as their opus 1197 and their first project in Sweden, was inaugurated on March 25, 1905, boasting a total of 1072 pipes. In 1962, Olof Rydén made alterations to the instrument, and in 2018, the Latvian firm Ugales Ergelbuves Darbnica meticulously restored it to its original state after previous experience with Walcker organs.

Hedvig Eleonora Church

The Hedvig Eleonora Church in central Stockholm, is the parish church for Hedvig Eleonora Parish in the Diocese of Stockholm. Consecrated on August 21, 1737, it pays homage to Queen Hedvig Eleonora, wife of King Charles X of Sweden, standing as an octagonal place of worship.

Renowned for hosting various ceremonies, the church holds a 24-bell carillon, crafted in 1968. Its historical roots trace back to Ladugårdslandet, once known as Ladugårdslands församling and rechristened Hedvig Eleonora församling in 1737.

Originally planned in 1664, the church’s construction began in 1725 but stalled due to financial constraints, with a temporary wooden church, Ladugårdslands kyrka, near Storgatan. Architect Olof Hedlund finally realized the new church in 1737.

The church exterior reflects two distinct architectural periods, featuring a dome and remnants of unfinished towers repurposed as mausoleums in 1792. Inside, elements include “The Golden Altar” and an altarpiece “Jesus on the Cross” by Georg Engelhard Schröder, a neoclassical pulpit by Jean Eric Rehn, a baptistery, and historical stained glass.

Kungsholm Church

Kungsholm Church, also known as Ulrika Eleonora Church, resides on Bergsgatan in Stockholm’s Kungsholmen island. Belonging to Västermalm Parish of the Church of Sweden, it was inaugurated on December 2, 1688 (Old Style).

Originally a cross-shaped church, its construction began in 1672 under architect Mathias Spieler, funded by King Karl XI. Financial issues halted the project in 1676, but in 1685, construction resumed. The church was inaugurated in 1688 by Archbishop Olof Svebilius, though the interior remained incomplete.

In the late 1730s, a mausoleum was added for merchant Hans Lenman. By 1757, the vaulted ceiling was completed after economic setbacks. Architect Jean Eric Rehn added a stone staircase in 1792–94 at the southern church gate.

The church tower, erected in 1810 by P.W. Palmroth, features a brick lower section with pilasters supporting an octagonal copper-covered dome housing the bells. The old bell tower from the 1670s was demolished when the new tower was completed.

During 1835, the Westin Family mausoleum was constructed adjacent to the Lenman mausoleum. Restoration work in 1954–56 aimed to restore the church’s original character, including retrieving and reconstructing the 23 original Karolin windows, offering the church a golden glow.

Among its treasures, the church possesses an esteemed portrait of Gustav II Adolf by Jacob Elbfas from 1684, considered one of the best portraits of the king. The pulpit, crafted in 1820, marked the Empire style’s entrance into the church’s decorations. Additionally, the exquisite baptismal chapel, donated in 1707, includes sculpted decor and houses a silver baptismal font and bowl.

The church’s organ, inaugurated in 1830, now features 44 tones across three manuals and a pedal. It underwent several modifications and rebuilds over the years, enhancing its tonal range and technological capabilities.

Bromma Church

Bromma Church, in the Bromma borough of Stockholm, Sweden, serves as the parish church for Bromma Parish in the Diocese of Stockholm. Dating back to the late 12th century, it stands among the city’s oldest structures, originally built as a fortress church.

Its layout now consists of seven parts: the roundhouse, nave, choir, sacristy, chancel tomb, weaponhouse, and crypt. Initially, it comprised the roundhouse and an eastern choir. In the mid-15th century, the nave and sacristy were added in stone, hosting over forty biblical wall paintings by Albertus Pictor or his apprentices in the 1480s.

During the late 17th century, Johannes Vultejus, vicar from 1679 to 1700, introduced several changes, including the current roof, spire, pulpit, and wooden altar. A chancel tomb for the Hjärne family was constructed in 1703, while the altarpiece, dating from 1818, features statues of Saint Peter and Paul.

Among other Swedish round churches are Solna Church, Munsö Church, Voxtorp Church, Hagby Church, Valleberga Church, Skörstorp Church, and Vårdsberg Church. Notably, Bromma Church served as a control point for Sweden’s first public orienteering competition in 1901.

Recognized as Stockholm County’s most beautiful church in 2006 by a local radio station survey, Bromma Church’s location in the Bromma district aligns with its historical significance as one of the city’s oldest structures.

Strategically positioned as a fortress church, it once contributed to the defense of the Mälaren region. The circular shape, iconic to the church, is a testament to its historical and strategic role, particularly during a time when Mälaren’s waterline was significantly higher than today’s levels.

St. John’s Church

St. John’s Church, or Sankt Johannes kyrka, stands atop Brunkebergsåsen in Stockholm’s Norrmalm district. Designed by Carl Möller in Gothic Revival style, it was inaugurated on May 25, 1890, serving as the parish church for Sankt Johannes församling. The church is currently closed for renovation since December 2020.

St. John’s Church – watercolor painting

The site initially hosted a burial chapel in 1651 for Jakob and Johannes parishes. Plans for a stone church began in the 1770s under Gustav III’s permission, but construction was interrupted, leading to the renovation of the existing wooden church.

Architect Carl Möller won a competition in 1883 with a neo-Gothic proposal. The new church, inaugurated in 1890, was attended by notable figures like Archbishop Anton Niklas Sundberg and King Oscar II.

Externally, the church’s Gothic Revival design resembles structures like Luleå and Uppsala Cathedrals. It faces north-south due to Brunkebergsåsen’s alignment and boasts spaciousness and stained glass artistry internally, showcasing scenes of Jesus’ life crafted by Franz Xaver Zettler.

The church’s interior highlights Agi Lindegren’s ceiling paintings and Theodor Lundberg’s ornate Gothic-style altarpiece. A grand rosette window adorns the south, above the organ gallery.

The organ, dating back to 1852, was updated in 1975 by Frederiksborgs Orgelbyggeri, Denmark, incorporating a wide range of tones and combining traditional and modern features.

The Hjorthagen Church

The Hjorthagen Church, also known as Hjorthagskyrkan, stands on Dianavägen in Stockholm’s Hjorthagen district, part of the Engelbrekt Parish.

Architect Carl Bergsten’s design, initially met with objections due to its brick facade resembling the surroundings too closely, was eventually approved, and construction began in 1907 under builder Vilhelm Norrbin. It was consecrated on March 25, 1909, by Archbishop Johan August Ekman.

Built of red brick with patterned masonry and a granite base supported by reinforced concrete beams, the exterior reflects Bergsten’s 1907 blueprint, blending influences from Wiener Werkstätte design and Swedish National Romanticism in brick architecture.

Inside, the basilica-shaped interior is notably luminous, featuring dominating parabolic arches for the roof structure, with a wide nave flanked by low, narrow side aisles functioning as passages. The Mikaeli Chapel, to the left of the main entrance, originally used for baptisms, weddings, and small gatherings, now houses a handicap lift.

The church’s furnishings include the font by Bergsten, carved from soapstone by sculptor N Arthur Sandin. Decorations in the main hall were executed by decorator Filip Månsson based on Bergsten’s designs, while the seven stained glass paintings in the choir were crafted by artist Eigil Schwab.

The altar piece, sculpted in stucco by Tore Strindberg based on Bergsten’s sketches, underwent renovation in 1967 to emphasize the brick pillars supporting the altar slab. Additionally, Strindberg sculpted the large Hubertus stag, adorned with a cross and sun rays between its antlers, placed in the choir.

The church’s original organ was built by E A Setterquist & Son in 1910, later replaced by a mechanical organ from Grönlunds Orgelbyggeri AB in 1961, with a facade designed by Lars Stalin.

The Finnish Church

The Finnish Church, part of Stockholm’s Finnish Parish within the Church of Sweden, was established in 1725, formerly the rebuilt Lilla Bollhuset. Before becoming a church, it played a significant role in Swedish theater history during the 1600s.

Initially built between 1648 and 1653 as an extension to Stora Bollhuset, it served as a sports venue. From 1662 to 1686, it doubled as a theater for visiting troupes in Stockholm. In 1725, the Finnish congregation acquired and renovated the building under architect Göran Adelcrantz’s direction, officially consecrating it as a church on December 19, 1725.

The church interior measures 20 by 10 meters with about 400 seats. A double gallery in the west displays Finland’s coat of arms and ancient provincial symbols. The altarpiece depicts Christ’s resurrection, crafted by Lorens Gottman in 1734. Chandeliers from Nyen, Ingermanland (present-day Russia), adorn the space. The organ, constructed by Olof Schwan in 1792, houses 12 tones.

The church’s original organ, initially built by an unknown craftsman, underwent alterations in 1752 by Jonas Gren and Petter Stråhle, adding six tones and three bellows.

The Church of Saint Clare

The Church of Saint Clare, also known as Klara Church, is situated at Klara Västra Kyrkogata in central Stockholm and has been overseen by the Swedish Evangelical Mission since 1989.

Its history harks back to the 1280s when the Convent and Church of St. Clare were founded. However, King Gustav Vasa ordered their demolition in 1527. Construction of the present church commenced in 1572 under Johan III’s guidance, incorporating a Latin cross plan, a polygonal choir, and a spired west tower made primarily of brick.

The church’s interior, adorned with cross vaults, houses various extensions like sacristies and staircases, witnessing restorations and alterations in the 17th and 19th centuries by architects Carl Hårleman and Helgo Zettervall.

Noteworthy treasures within include the altarpieces by Jonas Hoffman and C F Adelcrantz, accompanied by angels sculpted by Johan Tobias Sergel. The baptismal font crafted by Thor Thorén in 1908 adds to its allure.

The church’s organ, initially built in 1628 and expanded in 1648, underwent several modifications in subsequent years until a comprehensive renovation by Åkerman & Lund Orgelbyggeri in 1907.

Functioning as a center for extensive outreach, Klara Church provides aid to the needy in Stockholm’s city center, offering essentials, hosting worship sessions, youth groups, prayer meetings, Bible studies, and Christian courses.

Its churchyard holds historical significance with graves of notable figures like C. M. Bellman, Anna Maria Lenngren, and Carl Gustaf af Leopold. The adjacent burial chapel, built in 1889, complements the site’s historical legacy.

This church, a significant symbol in Stockholm’s landscape, embodies profound historical, cultural, and religious significance, actively contributing to the community’s spiritual and humanitarian welfare.

Kungsholm Church

Kungsholm Church, also known as Ulrika Eleonora Church, has been part of the Västermalm Parish of the Church of Sweden since its inauguration in 1688. Initially, services were held in a small wooden structure in 1671. Construction started in 1672 but faced interruptions due to financial issues, finally consecrated in 1688 with an unfinished interior.

The church saw additions like a sepulcher for Hans Lenman in the 1730s, delayed vault completion until 1757, and a new tower by P.W. Palmroth in 1810. Restorations in 1954–56 and 1995–97 aimed to revive its original style, including the reconstruction of 23 Carolingian windows lost in 1882.

Its treasures encompass a silver font from 1713 and an ornate silver bowl. The altar, by Carl Christoffer Gjörwell, features a painting by Fredric Westin from 1823. The pulpit, also by Gjöwell, was funded by Johan Carlgren and replaced an older one from Storkyrkan in 1819.

The baptismal chapel, sculpted by Caspar Schröder, is a highlight, housing a depiction of Christ surrounded by children. Notable items include a portrait of Gustav II Adolf by Jacob Elbfas and Gustav II Adolf’s Bible. The church’s adorned with carvings, epitaphs, and heraldic symbols honoring figures like Zacharias Halling.

The Church of Saint Mary Magdalene

The Church of Saint Mary Magdalene in central Stockholm pays tribute to Mary Magdalene and features a unique layout with a nave, a three-sided choir, and a transept.

It showcases significant artworks like Louis Masreliez’s Adoration of the Shepherds from 1800 and houses historical items such as the baptismal font dating back to 1638.

Notable epitaphs dedicated to Christopher Polhem and Carl Michael Bellman are found within. Beneath the church lie burial chambers, and adjacent to the southern churchyard, various chapels serve different purposes, one catering to the Finnish Orthodox Church in Sweden.

Among its distinguished occupants are Lasse Lucidor, Erik Johan Stagnelius, Werner Aspenström, Karl August Nicander, and Evert Taube.

Initially, dating back to the 1350s, the church began as a funeral chapel, its fate poorly documented after construction. Gustav Vasa’s orders led to its destruction in 1527, prompting the start of a new church’s construction under King John III in 1588, completed by 1634.

The church’s Baroque appearance, influenced by Nicodemus Tessin the Elder and Younger, suffered a fire in 1759, which led to restoration by Superintendent Carl Johan Cronstedt in 1763.

The church’s current neoclassical tower, finalized in 1825, incorporates materials from an older tower and houses a large bell cast in 1898, derived from those melted in the 1759 fire. The churchyard, active since the 1350s, holds various burial chapels and graves of historical significance.

The Skeppsholmen Church

The Skeppsholmen Church, also called Skeppsholmskyrkan, once stood on the islet of Skeppsholmen in central Stockholm, Sweden. Its construction, initiated in 1824 after the Holmkyrkan fire of 1822, was completed in 1833, with the distinctive dome finished later.

Inspired by Rome’s Pantheon and Karlskrona’s Trefaldighetskyrkan, architect Fredrik Blom designed this neoclassical octagonal church. It officially got inaugurated on July 24, 1842, with the addition of the lantern on the dome, reaching an interior height of 30 meters.

Initially, a site of worship, the church saw changes over the years. In 1969, the Navy’s move to the Muskö naval base led to the discontinuation of the Skeppsholmen parish, resulting in the church’s secularization in 2002. By May 2009, the space transformed into a concert hall named Eric Ericsonhallen after the renowned Swedish conductor Eric Ericson (1918–2013).

Through its history, the church housed several organs, including contributions from Frans Bohl, Carnaus’s widow, and Pehr Zacharias Strand, each adding and modifying the instrument’s stops and manuals. The present pneumatic organ, constructed in 1930 by E A Setterquist & Son from Örebro, retains the façade from the 1873 organ, following a reconfiguration by the same firm in 1942.

Spånga Church

The Spånga Church, nestled in Stockholm’s Spånga-Tensta borough, has roots tracing back to 1175–1200, undergoing significant renovations during the 14th and 15th centuries. Baron Gustaf Bonde’s generosity in the 17th century saw substantial donations and the addition of a chancel tomb designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Elder.

It houses historical treasures, including frescoes dating back to the Middle Ages, with paintings evolving over time. The oldest church paintings, possibly from the 14th century, depicted abstract designs and motifs from the Old Testament, while those from the 15th century integrated elements from the New Testament and later saints.

Unfortunately, a restoration in 1789 covered these paintings with white paint, only to be partially revealed in later restorations.

The church boasts Viking Age runestones outside, with one designated as U 61 in Rundata, featuring a runic inscription and a Christian cross design. Another runestone, U 226, is attributed to a runemaster named Gunnar. Personal names etched into the stones, like Þorbiorn meaning ‘Thor’s Bear,’ offer insights into ancient beliefs and identities.

This church’s significance goes beyond its historical aspects. In 1901, it was a control point for Sweden’s first public orienteering competition, and in 1974, the renowned album “Antiphone Blues,” featuring Arne Domnérus on saxophone and Gustav Sjökvist on organ, was recorded here, adding a musical chapter to its rich history.

The Royal Chapel

The Royal Chapel, inaugurated in 1754 alongside Stockholm Palace, is a core component of the Church of Sweden. It’s managed by the Office of the Marshal of the Realm and hosts significant royal ceremonies, including weddings and baptisms.

Architecturally, the chapel’s Baroque and Rococo design, crafted by architects Nicodemus Tessin the Younger and Carl Hårleman, reflects grandeur. Decorative elements by artists like Guillaume Thomas Taraval and Johan Pasch adorn the space, including ceiling frescoes depicting the Ascension of Christ.

Functionally, it serves as the parish church for the Court Parish, accommodating the royal family and around 300 parish members from Stockholm, Solna, and Lovön. Regular Sunday services and religious ceremonies highlight its broader role beyond ceremonies.

The artistic allure is evident in ornate sculptures, such as those by Burchard Precht portraying Jesus, John the Baptist, and allegorical figures representing Faith and Hope. Pierre Hubert L’Archevêque and Johan Tobias Sergel contributed significantly to the sculptural masterpiece situated above the altar.

Musically, the chapel’s organ has evolved from its inaugural instrument by Jonas Gren and Petter Stråhle to later reconstructions. A significant milestone was the restoration of the original 18th-century organ by Matts Arvidsson in 1999, preserving its historical legacy.

This chapel, a cultural and religious landmark within Stockholm Palace, embodies centuries of royal ceremonies, artistry, and musical heritage.

St. Paul’s Church

St. Paul’s Church, also known as St. Paul’s Chapel (Swedish: Sankt Paulskyrkan), once a United Methodist Church of Sweden, resides in Mariatorget, Södermalm, central Stockholm. Built in 1876 by architects Axel and Hjalmar Kumlien, it reflects neo-Gothic brickwork.

Originally formed in 1868, it marked Sweden’s first Methodist church. By 2013, it merged into the Uniting Church in Sweden. Due to declining membership, the parish dissolved in 2014/15 and sold the church to Stockholm Stadsmission, a local charity.

The Kumlien brothers’ design showcases distinct neo-Gothic features, setting a standard for Methodist architecture in Sweden. A grand rose window adorns the square-facing facade, while an octagonal spire crowns the roof, flanked by high buttresses and pointed arch windows.

The interior, seating 500, underwent alterations, including a resurrection painting by Wilhelm Gernandt in 1894. Renovations occurred in 1897 and 1939, and the organ was installed from Sankt Matteus Church in 1971.

With its rich history and cultural significance, the building is deemed historically valuable, earning a classification from S

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Beautiful historical churches and cathedrals in Stockholm, Sweden


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