Domkyrkan (Uppsala Cathedral)

The pride of Uppsala is its stunning cathedral, which can be seen from all directions when you approach the city. It is a magnificent building with twin towers reaching towards the sky, 118.7 meters (almost 400 feet) above the ground. It is, in fact, the largest cathedral in Scandinavia.

The cathedral in Uppsala.

S.Pathkiller 2009, The cathedral in Uppsala, CC

A real sense of history can be felt within the cathedral, which is open to everyone. A half a million people visit the church every year for various purposes, whether it be to attend a mass or a wedding, listen to a concert or just experience the peaceful beauty within.

Swedish kings and queens were crowned in the cathedral at one time, during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Inside the cathedral.

E.Grandin 2008, Inside the cathedral during a confirmation service, CC

Cathedral history

There is quite a history behind the cathedral, and it did not always have the form you see today. Construction began sometime around 1270 with the intention of replacing the cathedral in Gamla Uppsala.

The original medieval church was built in the Gothic style and it is believed that the north entrance was constructed by French stoneworkers. It was over 160 years later that the cathedral was finally consecrated in the year 1435, and even then there was only one tower completed. The cathedral was damaged by fires in 1473, 1572 and 1702 and after restoration at the end of the 1800s took the form we see today.

Uppsala Cathedral was dedicated to three saints, Saint Lawrence, the Roman martyr, Saint Olaf the patron of Norway and Saint Eric, who was King Erik IX of Sweden, who is actually entombed at the cathedral. Other nobles buried within the cathedral include King Gustav Vasa, Carl Linnaeus, Olaf Rudbeck and former UN Secretary General, Dag Hammarsköjld, who died in a plane crash in 1961.

The cathedral in Uppsala.

Etching 1619: from public domain, C0

The cathedral in Uppsala.

Etchings 1747: from public domain, C0

The cathedral in Uppsala.

Etchings 1892: from public domain, C0