Ala Church

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Ala Church, external view

Ala Church (Swedish: Ala kyrka) is a medieval Lutheran church on the Swedish island of Gotland, in the Diocese of Visby.

History and architecture[edit]

The oldest part of the aisleless church is the nave, erected during the 12th century. The choir was added during the middle of the 13th century, and replaced an earlier considerably smaller choir and apse.[1] The presently visible church lacks an apse, typically for churches on Gotland, and instead has a straight eastern wall. The tower is slightly older than the choir. The southern portals of the church exhibit some unusual stone sculptures.[2]

Inside, the church is decorated with medieval frescos, consisting of two sets made separately at different times. The oldest date from the late 13th century and depict legendary animals and ornaments. The more recent date from the 15th century and depict a scene from the legend of Saint Martin, a large painting depicting the Passion of Christ made by the artist known as the Master of the Passion of Christ, and other religious themes.[2]

Ala Church after the fire in 1938

The church was ravaged by fire in 1938, and most of the furnishings, including a 13th-century triumphal cross, were destroyed. The medieval baptismal font, made of durable local limestone, was among the few items that survived.[3] In 1938-1940, restoration work was carried out, and the church got a new organ in 1955.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Söderberg, Bengt G. (1978). Kyrkorna på Gotland: The churches of Gotland (in Swedish). Visby: Gotlandskonst. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Lagerlöf, Erland (1973). Lagerlöf, Erland, ed. Gotlands kyrkor (in Swedish). Uddevalla: Rabén & Sjögren. pp. 86–88. ISBN 9129410355. 
  3. ^ Sjöstrand, Eva; Jonson, Christer; Geijerstam, Bengt af (2013). Änglar & drakar: en gotländsk kulturskatt (in Swedish). Visby: Gotlands museum. ISBN 978-91-88036-88-9. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Roosval, Johnny; Lagerlöf, Erland (1959). Ala kyrka. Sveriges kyrkor, konsthistoriskt inventarium (in Swedish, with summary in English). IV, 4. Stockholm: Generalstabens Litografiska Anstalts Förlag. pp. 592–643. Retrieved 21 October 2014. 

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Ala Church at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 57°25′08″N 18°38′07″E / 57.41889°N 18.63528°E / 57.41889; 18.63528