Hidden beneath what looks like an ordinary street in Lund’s main shopping district is one of the city’s most intriguing sights: an underground museum set around the ruins of a centuries-old church.
Few visitors seem to even know that the place exists, and for good reason – the entrance to the museum is either through an inconspicuous green door at street level, or through an Italian restaurant, whose terrace fills up with diners during the summertime.
Both routes lead you to a spiral staircase, which in turn leads down to a large, dark hall with a softly lit cross at its centre. The low walls stretching around this space are the remnants of several churches that were built on the same plot of land between the 11th and 14th Centuries.
After its foundation in 990, Lund quickly became a major centre of power and influence for the Christian church. An incredible 27 churches were built across town over the coming centuries, including this one – Drotten’s Church.
Like most of those 27 churches, Drotten’s Church was pulled down during the reformation of 1536, when Denmark switched from Roman Catholicism to Lutheranism. The low, ruined walls you see today survived somehow, but were almost done away with in 1984, when the major archaeological dig that lead to their discovery neared its end and local authorities began planning the area’s future. Thanks to a last-minute change of heart, the ruins were saved and three years later, they opened as a museum for visitors.
It won’t take you very long to look around, but there are some interesting things to peek at as you walk past the ruins – most notably the scale models that show how the church would have looked in its various iterations when it was still standing.
Keep an eye out, too, for the big pillars holding up the ceiling, which have been marked to show where the ground level was back in 1060, around the time that the church’s crypts (still visible today) were built.
Elsewhere, exhibitions tell the story of graves discovered nearby. Modern scientists have analysed around 3500 skeletons from the graves around this church, and now have a good understanding of the type of people who lived here – and the sometimes gruesome ways they met their end.
The museum’s signs don’t have a great deal of information in English, but if you look carefully at the bottom of the staircase (it’s a bit dark) there should be some information cards you can carry around with you.
The ruins are below street level at Kattesund 6, just off Stora Södergatan. The easiest way to get down to the ruins is to look for the green door between the Italian restaurant called Gattostretto and the fruit-and-veg shop. Go inside, walk past the little bookshop and you’ll find a door leading to the stairs. If the green door is closed, you may be able to gain access to the ruins by going through the Italian restaurant (they have different opening hours).
The ruins of Drottens Church (Drottens kyrkoruin)
+46 46 320 777
Mon–Wed 9am–1pm, Thurs 9am–6pm, Fri 9am–1pm; closed July–early-Aug
Last updated: July 2015