Visby Cathedral

Visby Cathedral (Swedish: Visby domkyrka), formally Visby Saint Mary's Cathedral (Visby S:ta Maria domkyrka) is a cathedral within the Church of Sweden, seat of the Bishop of Visby. It lies in the centre of Visby, the main town on the Swedish island Gotland. It was built as the church of the German traders in the city during the 13th century. The very first church was probably a wooden church, which was later replaced by a stone building. Originally built as a basilica, it was successively expanded and rebuilt during the Middle Ages. At the end of this period it had been transformed to a hall church, which it still is. In 1361, Gotland and the church became part of Denmark. Following the Reformation, it was the only medieval church in the city left in use, and in 1572 raised to the status of cathedral. Since 1645 Gotland and the cathedral have been part of Sweden. A major renovation was carried out in 1899–1903 under the guidance of architect Axel Haig.

Visby Cathedral
Visby S:ta Maria domkyrka
View from the northeast
57°38′30″N 18°17′52″E
DenominationChurch of Sweden
Previous denominationCatholic Church
Church of Denmark
WebsiteOfficial site (in Swedish)
DedicationBlessed Virgin Mary
Consecrated27 July 1225
(cathedral since 1572)
Functional statusActive
Architect(s)Axel Haig (1899–1903)
Jerk Alton [sv] (1979–1985)
Length55.5 metres (182 ft)[1]
Width24.7 metres (81 ft) (at its widest point)[1]
Height58 metres (190 ft) (tallest point of the west tower)[1]
DioceseDiocese of Visby
Bishop(s)Thomas Petersson (bishop)

The cathedral consists of a nave with two aisles, a square chancel, a square western tower and two smaller, octagonal towers to the east. Stylistically, it is related to medieval German models, particularly from Westphalia and the Rhineland, but indirect influences from France are also discernible in the Gothic architecture of the cathedral. In turn, its architecture influenced both local church building on Gotland and certain elements in the cathedrals of Linköping and Uppsala on mainland Sweden. It contains furnishings from several centuries; its main altarpiece is a Gothic revival piece from 1905.