St. Anna’s Church of Kokar | Attraction Guides | History Hit

St. Anna’s Church of Kokar

Kokar, Aland Islands, Finland

Lucy Davidson

20 Apr 2021

About St. Anna’s Church of Kokar

St. Anna’s Church of Kokar is a pretty, whitewashed stone church in Aland built in 1784 and renowned for its 14th century Finnish Franciscan convent.

The ruins of the convent are still visible today and visitors can see where the monks who lived there once worked. St. Anna’s Church of Kokar is also home to a 13th century baptismal font.

This site also features as one of our Top 10 Finish Visitor Attractions.

History of St. Anna’s Church of Kokar

St. Anna’s Church of Kokar is situated in the town of Hamno, some 132 miles south of Stockholm, Sweden. The town is in Aland, which is an autonomous, demilitarised, Swedish-speaking region of Finland.

The current stone church was built on top of the ruins of a medieval monastic church, which seems to have been shaped like a normal Åland parish church and likely dates to the 14th century.

The church was inaugurated in 1784, and is dedicated to Anna, grandmother of Jesus. The internal and external appearance of the church has changed little two hundred years. The only changes are the sacristy, which was added in 1876, and the organ loft, which was inaugurated in 1912. The former organ was replaced in 1992, and is now on display at the Kokar Museum.

St. Anna’s Church of Kokar Today

Today, visitors to the church can enjoy looking at the various interesting items that the church has gathered over many centuries.

Several objects were brought from the old wooden church that was in use at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries: a large crucifix, an offering box, the old altarpiece, and a pelican hanging over the ornamented pulpit. The current altarpiece is from 1803 and depicts The Last Supper.

The church ship, an ornamented wooden pirate ship with 64 cannons, is also from the old wooden church. It was, according to legend, made by Olle from the Johans farm in Karlby, and represents the pirate ship that hijacked the merchant vessel he was sailing in 1733.

Within the chancel is a 13th century limestone bowl and baptismal font which is said to have been built into the wall of the monastery which previously stood at the same site.

Visitors can enjoy viewing the ruins of one of the monastic buildings, which houses an exhibition of the archaeological artefacts and the history of the site.

Getting to St. Anna’s Church of Kokar

From Turku, the oldest city in Finland, the church is a 5 hour drive via Route 180 and Galtby-Kokar. From the centre of Kokar itself, the church is a 7 minute drive, via Route 760 and Route 762, or is an hour’s walk the same way. The church is also located along the Danish Itinerary on the so-called Valdemar-route.

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