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S:t Olafs church ruin


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S:t Olafs church ruin

Sigtuna was founded to be the first Christian town in Sweden – the centre of the new religion.

The powerful church ruin, from the early Middle Ages, holds many secrets.

The construction of St. Olaf’s church begun probably in the first half of the 12th century. The remains of it has been the subject of several smaller scientific excavations in the 2000s, when researchers have been curious about the church’s remarkable architecture. The excavations have found that the church remnants of today rest on an older building – perhaps the oldest stone church in Sweden.

St. Olaf’s plan is remarkable, the choir is both larger and longer than the nave. The idea might have been to build a long house as grand as the choir but for some reason that did not happen. The building came to a halt, perhaps because of the lack of funds. Probably there was a long house in the wood throughout the Middle Ages.

Next to the church’s south wall foundations of a small house with a dry well is still visible today. The little house was built earlier than the church and may have been built over a holy spring, an Olaf Source.

During the Middle Ages, as many as seven large stone churches were erected by merchant guilds and wealthy townspeople. Today, the ruins of three remain: St. Peter’s, St. Lawrence’s, and St. Olaf’s (St. Per, St. Lars, and St. Olof).

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