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Romanesque Style

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The cathedral in Lund, which was inaugurated in the beginning of the 12th century is an example of Roman architecture on a large scale.
The apse seen here is among the most well-preserved parts of the church

Lund´s Cathedral
Knud the Holy did not have a good relationship with the magnates, but his ambition was to strengthen the royal power with the power of the church. In his time Lund´s first stone church was built (1083). It was called Knud the Holy´s Cathedral, as the king had donated the field, on which the church was built. In 1085 he once again donated a gift to the Episcopal residence in Lund. It was several properties on both sides of the Sound. In addition the Lund cathedral was to receive tax money from the city of Lund, but also from the towns Lomma and Helsingborg.
The background for this was that the Danish towns paid a property tax to the king as the king owned the land that the cities were built on. The tax was called Midsummer tax. It was parts of this tax that Knud the Holy donated to the cathedral in Lund. This is noted in Knud the Holy´s donation latter from May 21st 1085. (The donation letter is quoted in Lund´s Cathedral´s first obituary, memory book from the middle of the 12th century). As the Midsummer tax only was paid by towns it is clear that Lund, Lomma and Helsingborg was founded before May 21st 1085 and that these three were the first towns in Scania.
In 1089 Lund had a new archbishop, Asser and in his time Lund became the episcopal set for all the North. This happened in 1103 and after this the building of Lund´s new cathedral was begun. It was built in the same place as Knud the Holy´s cathedral, but was to have dimensions, which was proper for a large archbishopric. (Lund was archbishopric for the North until 1152, when Norway had its own organisation while Sweden was released from Lund´s archbishopric in 1164 and after that Lund´s Cathedral was solely a Danish cathedral). To carry out this important building, the architect Donatus, who was probably of Lombardic origin, was called in. The high altar was inaugurated in 1123 and the church was finished in 1145. The church room is considered by many as one of the most beautiful in the Roman art.
Lund in the 16th Century
Lund in the 16th Century
Lund Domkirke
Lund Domkirke
St. Laurentius
St. Laurentius
Astronomical Clock
Astronomical Clock
Gospel Script
Gospel Script

The Archbishop
In 1089 Lund had a new archbishop, Asser and in his time Lund became the episcopal set for all the North. This happened in 1103 and after this the building of Lund´s new cathedral was started.

The Builder
As the builder of the impressive prestige building the Lombardi architect, Donatus, was summoned. The church room is considered by many to be among the most outstanding in the Roman church art. And the rough restoration in the 19th century is deplored by many. Characteristic of the Lombardi inspired art is the extensive use of decorative elements on portal figures.
Italian Influence (the south portal)
Italian Influence (the south portal)
The South Portal
The South Portal
Lund
Lund
The Crypt
The Crypt
The Troll, Finn
The Troll, Finn

Building the Churches
We may have difficulties imagining the vast investment, which was needed to build the churches. In the early Middle Ages more than 2500 churches were built in the Danish area. This testifies to the strong grip the Christian church had on the population.

Building Material
In the beginning the churches were built of wood, the so-called stave churches, but from the middle of the 11th century they began to build stone churches.
The building material in the Sound region was usually limestone, which was cut to a cube form. This almost square stone was called ashlar. (The oldest preserved stone church in the North is Dalby Church outside Lund).
Sometimes the ashlar was supplemented with other stones from fields. (Example of such a mixture of building materials can be seen in the southern wall of Tveje Merløse Church).
In the 12th century it became more common with tile and early examples of the the use of tile are Gumlösa Church in Scania and Tikøb Church in Zealand.
Vä Church
Vä Church
Tveje Merløse Church
Tveje Merløse Church
Bjernede Church
Bjernede Church
Bjernede Kirke
Bjernede Kirke

Round Churches
There are examples of special kinds of ground solutions for the medieval churches. The round churches, which are typical of Bornholm, are special. In Helsingborg the Michael Chapel at the castle a round church and in Zealand Bjernede Church is the only example.
Østerlars Church
Østerlars Church
Portal
Portal
Nylars-Cross
Nylars-Cross
Nylars Church
Nylars Church
Portal Nylars Church
Portal Nylars Church

Ground Plan
Most churches had a simple ground plan. One big room was for the parishioners. This room was called the aisle or the nave. This room was extended with the choir, which ended in an apse, where the altar was placed. The aisle and the choir was often bounded with a vault, the so-called triumphal arch.
The big churches in Dalby and Lund had a much more sophisticated ground plan. The nave or the aisle in these churches looked like the Roman basilica, which meant that the aisle had three naves, of which the one in the middle was elevated and let the light in. In these churches there were also crypts and Lund´s Cathedral was given the form of a Latin cross.
Roman Ground Plan
Roman Ground Plan
Lund´s Cathedral
Lund´s Cathedral

Magnate Churches
The magnate churches differed from the ordinary churches. The often had twin towers and a gallery for the prominent.
Tveje Merløse Church
Tveje Merløse Church
Fjenneslev´s church
Fjenneslev´s church
Aakirkeby Church
Aakirkeby Church

©  Øresundstid 2009