Helge And Visby Jacob's church

The only octagonal church in Sweden:

The ruin of Helge And (St. Gertrud or St. Jacob).

hospital  church
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St. Jacob's Church was first mentioned in 1226 and belonged to the German bishop Albert in Riga. A limestone hospital church was mentioned in Visby as early as the 1290s, and this hospital was connected to the church. Maybe the name of the was changed vid tillbyggnaden ac hospitalet. it was built very close to the Dome Church.

The church in Visby is nowadays also called "S:ta Gertrud", because the statue of her is reproduced and stands at the West gate. She has a miniature of the church in her arms. She sympathized for the sick and the pore people but also for stangers. The ruin of Helge And supposes to be the old St. Jacob's church.
St. Jacob was the saint for the pilgrims during the Middle Ages.
The ruin is situated just close to the Dome church of S:ta Maria (St. Mary).


Click photo to enlarge:


*This church was built in about 1200, according to one theory, by Bishop Albert of Riga as a meeting point for pilgrims and crusaders travelling to Livonia. The name "Helge And" (meaning Holy Ghost) comes from the infirmary which lay to the south of the church.*
*After the upper parts of the church had been detroyed by fire in 1611, what remained of the buiding was turned into a barn and cowshed.*

From the signboard: *This octagonal church is the only one of its kind in Sweden. The magnificent second storey opens onto the chancel giving a clear view of the service below. Churches like these excisted in palaces and castles during the earlier medieval period, in the Europe of Charlemagne.*

(All text between **-symbols are information from a signboard close to the ruin in Visby)

So far during the rebuilding of the site I have only written about the small ruins. The biggest ruins are really big. St. Karin is the biggest if all associated buildings such as the monastery are included. For a week each year, the church allows all medieval people to use the ruin as a restaurant and pub. The Medieval Week was started by the Swedish Church in Visby.
The church of St. Nicolai was originally part of the Dominican monastery built in the 1230s. The cathedral was destroyed by Lübeck's army from Germany in 1525. The church has a beautiful rose window in the gable. It had seven baptismals.

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