Visby domkyrka
Foto: Mattias Wahlgren

The cathedral Visby St. Mary's Cathedral

The oldest church building in Visby, completed at the beginning of the 13th century, was changed and enlarged a couple of times during the Middle Ages. Only a few rebuildings have taken place after the Middle Ages.

St. Mary's Cathedral was built in the late 12th century. The means for this had been collected from German ships arriving in the harbour of Visby. Initially the cathedral was intended for German merchants visiting the town. But many Germans settled here and the cathedral eventually became their parish church.

The church was consecrated in 1225 and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and has been the cathedral of the Diocese of Visby since 1572. Of  all the medieval churches in Visby, this is the only one preserved to this day.

The oldest church building was completed in the early 13th century, but it was modified and expanded a couple of times during the Middle Ages. Only a few alterations have been made after the Middle Ages. 

From the 16th century to the beginning of the 19th century, the area around the church was the only regular graveyard in Visby. It was surrounded by a high wall with several gates. Two of them still remain. At the medieval north gate you can discern the former dimensions of the torn-down wall.

Today the church has a central nave, two side aisles, a square apse, one western tower and two eastern towers. Above the nave there is a large attic which was used as a storage area both during and after the Middle Ages. On the south side there is the beautiful Great chapel (also called St Mary’s chapel), which was built around 1300. 

Visby St. Mary's Cathedral is both a vibrant place of worship and a cultural treasure! 
All year round it is a parish church where Mass and Divine Service are celebrated almost daily, but in the summer the church also becomes a site of pilgrimage for parishioners, tourists, and seasonal residents. 300 000 people visit the cathedral every year.