Uppsala Cathedral

The Cathedral of Uppsala ( _sv. Uppsala domkyrka), located centrally in the city of Uppsala, Sweden, dates back to the late 13th century and at a height of 118.7 m is the largest church building in Scandinavia. Originally used for coronations of the Swedish regent, it is now the seat of the Archbishop of Sweden.


The construction of the cathedral began in 1287 after the archbishopric was moved from Old Uppsala ( _sv. Gamla Uppsala) and took more than a century to complete. When inaugurated in 1435 under archbishop Olaus Laurentii it was still not completely finished. It was dedicated to the saints Saint Lawrence, a most cherished saint in all of Sweden at that time, Saint Eric, the patron of Sweden (though never canonised by the pope), and Saint Olaf the patron of Norway. It was completed within the following decades.

Architectural alterations

The Cathedral was severely damaged in the conflagration of 1702, especially causing extensive damage to its twin spires. When rebuilt, the Renaissance style of 1619 was modernised and, among other facets, under the architect Carl Hårleman (1700-1753) the tall Dutch Renaissance spires were replaced with small, dome-like towers in Baroque style.Between 1885-1893 the architect Helgo Zettervall (1831-1907) oversaw the second restoration, intending for the cathedral a "French" Gothic revival appearance. The original, medieval style was Baltic International Gothic, characterised by relatively robust brick walls. The small Baroque towers were replaced by tall (French-inspired) spires, including a third, smaller tower on the transept crossing in the same style. Zettervall also significantly altered large portions of the medieval outer brick walls as to give it a slimmer appearance, which meant the removal of the white-washed "blind windows" similar to the ones found on parts of the nearby Holy Trinity Church ( _sv. Helga trefaldighets kyrka). The interior ceiling and walls of the cathedral were decorated in neo-Gothic style, although some depictions, such as one of Martin Luther, did not attempt to reconstruct the cathedral's medieval heritage. Large portions of cement additions by Zettervall to the exterior structure of the cathedral were removed some decades later.


In the Middle Ages, when all houses in Uppsala except the churches consisted of one- or two-storey houses made of wood or sometimes bricks, the cathedral must have seemed even more enormous than today. Interestingly, the church was not the main place of worship of the citizens until the Reformation. The church was reserved for official services (by the cathedral's canons). The main churches, or parishes, in Uppsala were the Holy Trinity Church, or "Farmers' Church" ( _sv. Bondkyrkan) as it was often called, Saint Peter's church ( _sv. S:t Pers kyrka), Our Lady's church ( _sv. Vår Fru) and a Franciscan friary. The last three existed on the east side of the Fyris River ( _sv. Fyrisån), which was, and is, the central business district, but were successively torn down during the Reformation.

The Cathedral was also the coronation church for many of Sweden's kings and queens. It housed coronations from the middle ages, up until the end of the 17th century. Thereafter, up until 1872 (when Oscar II was the last Swedish monarch to be ceremonially crowned) Stockholm's Cathedral "Storkyrkan" was the official coronation church.

Interred notables

A number of Swedish kings and prolific personalities lie buried inside, among others:

* Gustav Vasa, 16th century, King of Sweden. He is buried with his three wives, although only two are depicted on the sarcophagus designed by Willem Boy. The king was interred in what was once the chapel of the Virgin Mary. The only indication of this in our day are the painted yellow stars against a blue background on the vaulted ceiling of the chapel, which are symbols of Saint Mary in Catholic tradition.
* John III of Sweden (son of Gustav Vasa) and his wife Catherine Jagiellon.
* Carolus Linnaeus, 18th century, world renowned botanist.
* Olof Rudbeck, famous Swedish polymath and one of the discoverers of the lymphatic system (He also wrote "Atlantica", a book in which he attempted to demonstrate that all peoples of the world originated in Sweden, and that Uppsala was the lost Atlantis).
* Emanuel Swedenborg, 18th century, scientist and mystic. He was not originally interred here, but his earthly remains were transported to Uppsala from England in 1908.
* Nathan Söderblom, 19th-20th century, notable archbishop. Nobel Peace Prize recipient.
* Eric the Saint, 12th century. King and national saint.
* Laurentius Petri Sweden's first Lutheran archbishop.
* In modern times some relics of Saint Bridgette (Heliga Birgitta) are placed in the chapel of Saint Erik and the parents of Saint Bridgette.

Dag Hammarskjöld Memorial

In the cathedral there is also a small memorial to Dag Hammarskjöld, former UN Secretary-General. A stone bears the inscription:

:Icke jag:utan gud i mig:Dag Hammarskjöld 1905 - 1961

The English translation is "Not I, but God in me."

ee also

*Church of Sweden
*Archbishop of Uppsala
*Temple at Uppsala

External links

* [http://www.mccullagh.org/theme/uppsala-cathedral.html Photos of Cathedral of Uppsala]
* [http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Sweden/Uppsala_Laen/Uppsala-169265/Things_To_Do-Uppsala-Cathedral-BR-1.html Tourist guide]
* [http://www.uppland.nu/eng/DynPage.aspx?id=11246&fmid=1030 Official Uppland tourist page]
* [http://www.uppsaladomkyrka.se/setupups/engelsk/default.asp?orgID=464 Cathedral's website]

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