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Overtornea Kyrka, Overtornea

4.4
#7 of 13 in Historic Sites in Norrbotten County
Church · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
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  • ÖVERTORNEÅ CHURCH, at my birthplace in Sweden, is one of the most beautiful and best kept of the 17 th century churches in Scandinavia. Särkilax chapel was the first church building in Övertorneå. It....  more
    ÖVERTORNEÅ CHURCH, at my birthplace in Sweden, is one of the most beautiful and best kept of the 17 th century churches in Scandinavia. Särkilax chapel was the first church building in Övertorneå. It....  more »
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  • ÖVERTORNEÅ CHURCH is one of the most beautiful and best kept of the 17 th century churches in Scandinavia. Särkilax chapel was the first church building in Övertorneå. It was located about three kilometres up the river, north of the present church and was mentioned for the first time in 1482. In 1615 the spring flood washed away the old chapel with all its precious equipment. The church of today was built on a safer spot at the foot of Särkivaara hill, between 1615 and 1617. In 1717 the church was plundered by Russian Cosacks. They took the churchbell and some other valuabel things. The 76-year old vicar, Johannes Tornberg, tried to stop them. But they hit him so badly with his own walkinqstick, that he died two days later. His stick is still kept in the sacristy. The church was reconstructed between 1735 and -37 and enlarged to a cruciform church by the skilful church builder, Hans Gabrielsson Biskop. The bell tower, which dates from 1763, has got some very interesting external paintings of a kind that is not often to be seen in Western Europe, but may point to an easterly influence. THE ORGAN! The organ is the oldest big, still in use 16 th century organ in Sweden. It was originally built in 1609 in Spandau, Germany by Paulus Müller. He built it for the German Church in Stockholm. In 1780 the organ was bought to Övertorneå church for a sum of 250 Swedish crowns. It has later been completely restored. The altar piece represents the women at the tomb of Christ. It was painted by Karl Tiren in 1903 and is, in fact, a copy of a painting by Axel Enders hanging in Molde church, Norway. Tiren´s picture replaced, as altar piece, the three paintings now hanging on the wall above the southern gallery. The pulpit and the sanctuary barrier were carved by the builder of the church, Hans Gabrielsson Biskop. They are good examples of a provincial baroque style, inspired and influenced by great masters like Burchart Precht in Uppsala. In 1500 archbishop Jacob Ulfsson presented his most northern church with the late medieval wooden sculptures, that are now some of the most precious treasures of the chuch. They probably originate from the cathedral in Uppsala. When the Särkilax chapel was destroyed by the spring flood, all the sculptures were washed away, but were later found by haymakers working on the Torne river banks further south. The most famous of the sculptures is the Madonna sculpture, designed to be opened like a small cupboard. When her mantle like dress is opened, one can see God Father sitting on his throne surrounded by worshippers.
  • Beautiful wooden church - simply decorated but very calm and serene

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