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Jakob Ehrensvärd | profile | all galleries >> Decay, ruins, wrecks and scrap >> The abandoned church tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

The abandoned church

The "new church" at Maglarp in the very south of Sweden was completed in 1907-08, superseding the "old church" dating back from the 13th century. Today, the building is in a late stage of decay and has not been in regular use since 1976. The area immediately surrounding the church has been closed off, as there is an imminent risk for a structural failure. Years of ignored maintenance have created serious cracks in the main structure, which by an alarming rate is getting worse as rain water seeps in. When the frost bites and the water freezes, mortar and bricks crack up, allowing more water in and the vicious cycle progresses at an accelerating pace.

In an area where the density of old churches is nowadays far beyond the actual need, the local parish has applied for an approval to demolish the building from 1908. The National Heritage Board has refused to give its approval, but is unwilling to at least share the expected 30 MSEK renovation cost. It is said that the church is for sale for SEK 1 (approx 15 US cents) to anyone who can undertake to renovate it.

While this issue is up in high court, the pigeons and crows leisurely fly in and out of the openings in the magnificent tower while the decay progresses.

Update: Recently, a go-ahead for demolition was given and the church is now "de-sacrificed". However, it does not seem like there is any final decision yet if/when the demolition is to be performed.

Update September 2007: The demolition has now begun and the roof of the tower has been taken off. The demolition of the main structure is scheduled for October. If I had been in a better shape, I would have gone there and documented when it all turns into rubble. It's supposed to be finished and fully cleaned up by christmas.

Update November 2007: The church is now more or less gone and it's now just a matter of cleaning up the site. No pictures, unfortunately. I'm stuck far away from there and cannot travel.

Update August 2008: Now finally verified by myself. A surreal experience to walk around in the cemetery and watching the remains of the foundation.

I recently found this link, featuring a great film of the demolition work - - I wish I was there and could have documented this historic event myself. Kudos to the people who did...
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