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This tiny church in Tidaholm municipality has the distinct look and characteristics of the very first churches built from stone to appear in Sweden. As such churches were some of the first buildings in Scandinavia to be built from stone and not wood, it also happens to be one of the oldest stone buildings in Sweden. But as wood is a perishable material and we have no intact wooden constructions left from the time, the pictured church is in fact one of the oldest buildings in Sweden, period.
Stone churches such as this were likely often preceded by wooden stave churches, of which remains have been found. Such stave churches were likely even more modest than their Romanesque stone counterparts, but stave churches far less modest in proportions and design can still be found in neighbouring Norway.
Not many medieval churches retain as much of their original form as the one in Suntak, and quite a few have been razed altogether. This is due to the hysteria of demolition that swept through the Västergötland region during the late 19th and early 20th century. A great number of medieval churches were torn down and replaced with new, larger ones. The reason for this was the rural population growth, as well as a shift in ideas and ideals, which led to the old churches being considered too small, too dark and well past their expiration date.
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