Visby, Gotland, Sweden

St. Katrin's Church, Visby, Gotland, Sweden

St Katrin’s (or St. Catherine’s) was founded by Franciscans in 1233. The church structure was started in the 1250s and continued until the 14th Century.

It was a large church with stained glass windows and seven altars inside, making it the largest and richest church in Gotland. The church was never actually completed when, in 1470, the Hanseatic League threw Visby out of the club and thus the town suddenly became strapped for cash.

In 1525 the Lübeckers sacked Visby and destroyed all the church except for the Cathedral. Despite being a roofless ruin, worship continued at St. Katrin’s until the 1540s when part of the church collapsed on the worshippers and so the decision was made to stop worshipping there.

Today the massive ruin dominates Stora Torget, the main square in Visby, and the fantastic tracery of the interior only hints at how the Church might once have looked.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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