Welcome to the church village of Vreta Abbey

Vreta klosters kyrka Foto: Anette Steen

- One of the country’s most interesting medieval buildings.
- Built as a royal church in the early 12th century by the Stenkilska dynasty. It may also have been a church for the bishop. 
- It has three naves and a sturdy tower on the west side.
- Several crypts along the south side.
- In 1162, the east side of the church was extended to include the current choir.
- Parish and monastic church during the Middle Ages.
- The church has served as a parish church ever since. This function has therefore continued uninterrupted, for approx. 900 years.
- Sigurd Curman’s restoration from 1914 to 1917 brought out the medieval features, and over the years it has developed a somewhat distorted character. This is the church we see today.

- In 1110, King Inge the Elder and Queen Helena donated the land for the purpose of building an abbey in Vreta.
- Vreta Abbey was the first of its kind in Sweden.
- King Karl Sverkersson’s donation in 1162 initiated an era of new construction. Shortly after, the abbey became part of the Order of Cistercians.
- Was Sweden’s primary convent for several hundred years. 
- Survived the first period of the Reformation.
- Was dissolved when the last remaining nuns died in the 1580s. The buildings decayed and today, only the ruins remain.

- Early Christian baptismal hall, which was a separate structure, a baptism chapel.
- May be the only known baptistery in Scandinavia.
- The structure existed before the abbey was built.
- Fully visible today after the archaeological excavation in 2006.

Abbey house
- Stately granary from the late 13th century.
- The country’s oldest preserved and detached agricultural building.
- Since 2019, Vreta Abbey has been open to all visitors. 
- The north area contains an exhibition of remarkable stones and older construction details recovered by archaeological excavations and church restorations.
- You can see the early Christian grave monuments from the 11th century.
- The south section of the building has space for exhibitions, etc.

Church museum
There is a museum in the northeast end of the church, on the second floor.

Come visit us
Take a stroll around the abbey.

Would you like to learn more about the Vreta Abbey church and surrounding area? You can purchase literature from the church vestibule.

There are toilets for visitors in the stable building, with entry from the gable.

1. Vreta Abbey Church   2. Abbey ruins    3. Baptistery   4. Abbey House   5. Abbey House Stone Museum   6. Poorhouse.  7. Funeral square, Funeral gates and Old Abbey Bell Ringer House   8. Rectory (private residence)  9. Old Chaplain House   10. Old Rectory.  11. Tithe Barn   12. Old Stable, now the Abbey House Café and kitchen. The building also houses toilet för visitors to the church village.

Unique church village

- From 1790
- Currently used by the Friends of the former Vreta Abbey. They have planted an herb garden in the gardens.

From there, you can see the

Funeral square
– with its Funeral Gate.
On the other side of the Funeral Square is the

Old bell ringer house
- from the 1790s.
- The house is currently leased as a private residence.

In the centre of the Funeral Square stands Vretagården, which was built in 1878 as a nursing home, in operation until 1984. Today the building is privately owned and houses several apartments.

An avenue leads to the front of the church. The gate by the church is from 1796 and was called Brudluckan (”Bridal Gate”). From the gravel square in front of the church facing north, you can see the

- The first floor was built in 1754 by Tiburtius, a priest.   
- Was rebuilt for Bishop Lindblom in 1791, and given its current appearance. 
- Framed by two red-painted wings.  To the west is the

Old rectory
- From 1688, with very old decor and details.

Old chaplain house
- From 1635, the east wing.
- Storage and granary for many years.

The old stable
- The smaller red house by the gravel square.
- Recently renovated, with visitor toilets and a café kitchen.

Tithe barn and parish storehouse
- From the 15th century.
- The old granite stone house in the churchyard. 
- Used as a tithe barn and parish storehouse, and also functioned as a bank.
- Since 1929, it has been used as a viewing room for funeral services.

The first ordinary school is located at the northeast part of the church village. It was built in 1862 and opened the following year. The house provided a school and residence for the bell ringer. The second floor housed the midwife, among others.   

Adjacent to the Bell Ringer House was a barn for the bell ringer’s cows, pigs and chickens. The house functioned as a school until 1911, when a new school was built on the opposite side of the road.  Today, the house has two apartments and is known as the New Bell Ringer House. 

Located in the same area are the caretaker’s work facilities, office and staff facilities. These were built in 1983 and 2007.