Malmö, Sweden, is renowned for its rich historical heritage and architectural wonders, particularly its exquisite churches. These sacred structures not only showcase stunning craftsmanship but also serve as cherished landmarks, embodying the city’s cultural and religious significance.
From the majestic Husie Church with its medieval roots and intricate details to the awe-inspiring St. Peter’s Church with its soaring spire, Malmö’s historical churches offer a captivating glimpse into the past.
Join us on a journey through the beautiful historical churches of Malmö, as we explore their remarkable history, architectural splendor, and the profound impact they have had on the city’s identity.
If you want to read about the museums and other historical buildings in Malmö, here is an article.
St. Peter’s Church
St. Peter’s Church, also known as Sankt Petri kyrka, is the main church of the city of Malmö, Sweden, and a significant Gothic monument in Skåne. The church played an important role during the Reformation, enduring damage due to iconoclasm.
The construction of St. Peter’s Church began in the early 14th century, replacing an older Romanesque church. It was likely inaugurated in 1319 and dedicated to saints Peter and Paul, but the construction was not completed until around 1380.
The church showcases Brick Gothic architecture, influenced by the Marienkirche in Lübeck and contemporary French Gothic style. Made of red bricks, it features a Gothic basilica design with a western church tower, transept, and a pentagonal chancel with an ambulatory.
Over time, the church has undergone several alterations. The original church tower collapsed in 1420, leading to the construction of a new tower and vaults. In 1442, the tower partially collapsed again and had to be rebuilt.
The tower’s present appearance dates back to a renovation in 1890, standing at a height of 98 meters. During the late 15th and early 16th centuries, five side chapels were added, with three still remaining today: the chapels of Anne, Mary, and Krämarkapellet. The church porch was constructed after 1420.
Today, St. Peter’s Church is known for its late medieval murals of exceptional quality and unique furnishings. The monumental altarpiece, created in 1611, is one of the largest in the Nordic countries.
Originally the only parish church in Malmö, St. Peter’s Church is the oldest preserved brick building in the city. It is part of an urban structure with a largely intact medieval street layout. The church’s interior features a tall nave with whitewashed walls, pillars, and vaults, creating a light and bright atmosphere reminiscent of the early 17th century.
Krämarkapellet, within the church, showcases richly decorated late medieval murals that display a sophisticated and accomplished artistic style. The altarpiece, made of oak wood, stands at an impressive height of 15 meters and depicts significant biblical scenes. The pulpit, inaugurated in 1599, exhibits intricate ornamentation and scenes from the life of Christ. The baptismal font, dating back to 1601, is also crafted with black limestone and adorned with biblical scenes.
St. Peter’s Church houses a 1951 organ with a late 18th-century facade. Modern stained glass windows, a wooden Madonna from 1995, and decorated memorials of deceased burghers of the city add to the church’s artistic and historical allure. Additionally, a small library, Dringenbergska liberiet, containing books from 1506 to 1570, can be found within the church premises.
Caroli Church (Caroli kyrka) is a historic church building in Malmö, Sweden, situated at Östergatan and Kattsundsgatan. Designed by Emil Viktor Langlet, the church was completed in 1880 after the previous Caroli Church was demolished. It belonged to the Sankt Petri parish until 1949 when it ceased to exist within the Church of Sweden. The church was deconsecrated in 2010 and subsequently sold to the owner of Caroli City mall in 2009.
The origins of Caroli Church can be traced back to the 17th century when German merchants and craftsmen in Malmö decided to establish their own congregation due to difficulties in attending services in Copenhagen.
King Charles XI granted them permission in 1683, and the church was constructed on the site of a former estate. Built with granite and burnt stone obtained from other demolished churches, the church featured a tower with six floors and a square shape. The construction of the church took place between 1686 and 1693. The church had an east-west orientation and a cemetery, which no longer exists.
In 1879, it was decided to demolish the old Caroli Church and replace it with a larger Swedish-speaking congregation. The new church, designed by Emil Viktor Langlet, was constructed using red brick with a tower in the center and a Greek cross at the top. The church was inaugurated in 1880. The clock on the tower was manufactured by Fredrik Wilhelm Tornberg and received recognition at a former World Exhibition.
The current Caroli Church retains some elements from the old German church, including the pedestal and portals. In 1949, the Caroli Parish within the Church of Sweden was dissolved, and discussions arose regarding the church’s future.
Eventually, a society called “Caroli kyrkas vänner” (Friends of Caroli Church) was entrusted with its maintenance. From 2000 to 2009, the church was rented out to the Malmö Academy of Music for concerts.
In 2009, it was sold to the owners of Caroli City shopping center. Extensive restoration work began in 2020 to address the building’s deterioration. The church was put up for sale in 2021, accompanied by plans for interior renovation.
The church’s inventory includes a preserved altarpiece, now located in the new German church in Friluftsstaden, oriental-inspired chandeliers, and an oak-carved baptismal font. The altarpiece in Caroli Church, painted by Professor Mårten Eskil Winge, depicts the Resurrection of Jesus and was completed in time for the inauguration in 1880. The side panels feature images of the apostles Peter and John.
Caroli Church has had several organs throughout its history. The first organ, built in 1837 by Pehr Zacharias Strand, was later relocated to Vanstad Church. In 1881, Anders Victor Lundahl constructed a 25-stop organ. The current pneumatic gallery organ, built in 1921 by E F Walcker & Co in Ludwigsburg, Germany, remains in its original condition and underwent renovation in 1988.
Today, Caroli Church stands as a significant historical landmark in Malmö, witnessing its transformation and preservation throughout the years.
St. John’s Church
St. John’s Church (S:t Johannes kyrka), located near Triangeln in Malmö, Sweden, was designed by Axel Anderberg in the Jugend style and completed in 1907. The church stands out with its Art Nouveau architecture, featuring soft, rounded forms.
Constructed with red brick on a granite base, it showcases approximately 20 types of natural stone in its ornaments. The tower and armory were placed on the north side, deviating from tradition.
The oak pulpit is adorned with carvings by sculptor Carl Andersson, depicting various scenes from Jesus’ life. The triumphal arch of the church pays homage to Malmö’s Danish history, featuring Olaus Petri, a Swedish reformer, and Claus Mortensen, his Danish counterpart. Martin Luther is depicted above the pulpit, and nearby is the pastor’s preaching spot.
Inside the church, there is a carpet designed by textile artist Märta Måås-Fjetterström on the staircase leading to the altar. The altarpiece, entirely made of oak, was inaugurated in 1909. Carved by Malmö Snickerifabrik, the altarpiece and its frame sit on a stand, while the relief panel was made by Harald Sörensen-Ringi.
The altarpiece depicts Jesus with children on his left side and a woman breastfeeding her child on his right side. Plaster casts of the altarpiece have been made, some of which are used in churches in Norrland and Finland.
The church’s first organ, built in 1907 by Åkerman & Lund, had 27 stops but was relatively small compared to the building. It was later replaced in 1957 by an organ from the Dutch company D A Flentorp Orgelbouw.
Although it had a more impressive sound, it had functional issues such as inadequate air supply to the pedal pipes. The organ featured mechanical action, electric registration, and free combinations. The facade of the organ remained from the 1907 version.
St. Paul’s Church
Sankt Pauli Church is a yellow brick church building in Malmö, Sweden, serving as the parish church for the Malmö S:t Johannes congregation since 2014. Designed by Emil Viktor Langlet, construction began in 1879 and was completed in 1882.
The church has a hexagonal central design with a main tower symbolizing Jesus and twelve smaller towers representing his disciples. Adjacent to the church are the Sankt Pauli cemeteries. The church’s interior is adorned with painted stained glass windows added in the 1950s.
Sankt Pauli Church was built in the new district of Rörsjöstaden, as the previous central church, Sankt Petri, became too small due to Malmö’s growing population. The hexagonal shape was chosen to ensure visibility and equality among the congregation, and the church was constructed alongside Caroli Church. It was built on pillars due to its location on a former lake, causing slight sinking each year. The church plot itself is also hexagonal.
The church’s construction cost 244,108 SEK and features a golden cross atop the main tower, symbolizing the Holy Spirit and Pentecost. Three bells ring at specific times to commemorate the deceased and for Sunday worship services. The church can accommodate approximately 950 people but has a capacity for 1200.
The altarpiece, painted by Mårten Eskil Winge, depicts the Transfiguration of Christ with John the Baptist and the apostle Paul. The church also houses Jugend lamps from the 1920s and a communion chalice donated by King Oscar II.
Notably, in late 2019, a controversial painting with LGBTQ motifs by Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin was briefly displayed in the choir area but received theological criticism and was subsequently removed.
The church includes two side chapels with painted windows depicting scenes from the Acts of the Apostles. The right side chapel holds a memorial plaque for parishioners lost at sea during World War II.
Throughout the church, there are painted curtains and stars symbolizing Christ. The original organ, built in 1882 by Anders Victor Lundahl, was replaced in 1967 by the current organ from A. Mårtenssons Orgelfabrik AB, featuring mechanical action and electric registration.
Sankt Pauli Church stands as an architectural and artistic testament in Malmö, blending historical elements, religious symbolism, and modern controversies, while serving as a place of worship and community for the congregation.
Holy Trinity Church
Situated in the vibrant city of Malmö, within the revered Diocese of Lund, Holy Trinity Church (Heliga Trefaldighetskyrkan) proudly stands as a significant place of worship. Since 2014, it has served as the cherished parish church for the devoted Fosie congregation, providing spiritual guidance and solace.
The historic inauguration of Holy Trinity Church took place on September 1, 1939, originally intended as an extension of the Fosie parish hall. In 1969, it was officially designated as the parish church for the newly established Eriksfält congregation.
Constructed with a stunning array of red bricks, the church presents itself with a single nave featuring a distinctive broken roof design. The tower majestically graces the southern aspect, enhancing the architectural splendor.
Once inside, the eye is immediately drawn to the awe-inspiring choir, commanding attention with its magnificent altarpiece. This remarkable centerpiece engulfs the altar, a testament to divine devotion, both in its scale and intricate artistry.
Above, the inner ceiling showcases visible beams, imbuing the space with rustic charm. The floor, adorned with green Italian marble, adds an element of grace and serenity to the ambiance.
Flanking the altar on either side, two sculptures from the 17th century, crafted by an unknown master, create an air of reverence. These exquisite sculptures are believed to have formed part of a grand altarpiece, enriching the spiritual experience within the church.
One sculpture poignantly depicts the nativity scene in Bethlehem, evoking the wonder and significance of Christ’s birth. The other sculpture portrays the revered Adoration of the Three Wise Men, symbolizing humility and devotion. Parts of the interior were thoughtfully designed by the church’s esteemed architect, August Ewe, adding his distinctive touch to the sacred space.
In 1940, the renowned A. Mårtenssons Orgelfabrik AB in Lund crafted an organ with 17 stops, gracing Holy Trinity Church with melodious sounds. A testament to the church’s dedication to musical excellence, the current mechanical organ, built in 1975 by the same distinguished organ builder, continues to fill the sacred space with its captivating melodies.
Husie Church (Husie kyrka) in eastern Malmö serves as the parish church for the Husie congregation in the Diocese of Lund. Constructed between 1855 and 1857 by bricklayer Johan Stenberg, based on designs by Carl Georg Brunius, it was consecrated on November 22, 1857, by Bishop Johan Henrik Thomander. The current church was built on the site of a medieval church, preserving the tower believed to date back to the early 1500s.
In 1974-1975, the church underwent an extensive interior restoration and renovation led by architect Lennart Strömbeck. Changes included adding a sacristy and a toilet to the southern transept, replacing the altarpiece with a simple altar, and opening up the chancel.
The elevated church, surrounded by a cemetery, features a long nave with a three-sided chancel and transepts. The walls are made of dressed gray stone with brick accents. The tower, entirely constructed of red bricks, is topped with a tile roof and copper-plated spire.
The interior showcases cross vaults in the nave and transepts. The main entrance is through the tower in the west, with additional entrances in the sacristy and northern transept.
Inside, the church boasts a simple brick altar and a painted chancel window. Notable features include a pulpit from 1870, featuring the four evangelists—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—on the eastern walls of the transepts. Fragments of a 1642 altarpiece depicting the “Crucifixion of Jesus,” the “Last Supper,” and “Four Apostles” adorn the gable wall of the southern transept.
Additional elements of interest include a sandstone baptismal font from Höör, designed by Stig Ryberg in 1974, along with a brass font basin and a baptismal candlestick by the same artist. A stained glass window by Erik Olson of the Halmstad Group serves as the backdrop for the altar.
Throughout the church, various memorial plaques can be found, including one honoring Claus Mortensen, the reformer of Scania, who served as the pastor of Husie from 1541 to 1575. A tapestry titled “I Himlar sjungen den Eviges ära” (In Heaven, the Eternal’s Glory is Sung) was created by textile artist Anna-Lisa Menander in 1974.