Helge And visby Jacob's church Helge And
Home    Medieval week   The town   Growth of Visby   Walled town   The battle   Pictures   Map Visby   Map Gotland   About  Links

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 it was changed when they even built a hospital close to the 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 strangers. 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 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, that later on became the second biggest church ruin, 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. Today the ruin is used for the biggest conserts with a lot of seats.

  Copyright ©  Year: See "Home" visbysweden.com Tjelvarvägen 18, 62142 Visby, Sweden Phone: +46-735-057919 Started February 2002