Top Historic Sights in Uppsala, Sweden

Explore the historic highlights of Uppsala

Gustavianum

Gustavianum is the former main building of Uppsala University, built 1622–1625 and named after King Gustavus Adolphus. Under the cupola is the theatrum anatomicum, the second oldest in the world added to the building in the mid 17th century by Olaus Rudbeck, professor of medicine and amateur architect, among other things. Although still used for lectures and conferences, most of Gustavianum functions as a museum, i ...
Founded: 1622-1625 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Uppsala Cathedral

Uppsala Cathedral is the largest and tallest cathedral and one of the most impressive religious buildings in Scandinavia. Originally built in the 13th century under Roman Catholicism and used for coronations of the Swedish monarch, since the Protestant Reformation, it has been controlled by the Lutheran Church of Sweden. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Uppsala, the primate of Sweden. The construction of the cathedral ...
Founded: 1287-1435 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Holy Trinity Church

Helga Trefaldighet (Holy Trinity) Church was inaugurated in 1302. It replaced the previous church of local Ullerås parish. The church is made of grey stone and brick and it was originally a three-nave basilica. The western tower was added in the 15th century. The church was damaged badly by fire in 1702. The interior is particularly notable. It is decorated with paintings by the famous medieval artist Albertus Pict ...
Founded: 1302 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Uppsala University

The University Main Building was built in the 1880s. Parliament had allocated funding, and King Oscar II laid the cornerstone in pouring rain on a spring day in 1879. The site was formerly occupied by a large academic riding building, which was torn down for the new edifice. On May 17, 1887 the building was inaugurated at a festive ceremony. The architect was Herman Teodor Holmgren. What he created was a grand and statel ...
Founded: 1880's | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Uppsala Castle

Uppsala Castle is a 16th century royal castle in the historical city of Uppsala. Throughout much of its early history, the castle played a major role in the history of Sweden. It was built during the time Sweden was on its way to become a great power in Europe. King Gustav Vasa began construction of Uppsala Castle in 1549. Kings Erik XIV, John III and Charles IX all remodeled and expanded the citadel into a representativ ...
Founded: 1549 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Carolina Rediviva

Carolina Rediviva is the main building of the Uppsala University Library in Uppsala, Sweden. The building was begun in 1820 and completed in 1841. The original architect was Carl Fredrik Sundvall. Later additions to the building have been designed by Axel Johan Anderberg and Peter Celsing. The name, literally "Carolina Revived", was given in remembrance of the old Academia Carolina building, which had functioned as univer ...
Founded: 1820-1841 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Uppsala University Botanical Garden

The Uppsala University Botanical Garden is the oldest botanical garden in Sweden. It was founded in 1655 by Olof Rudbeck the elder, professor of medicine. The garden was used for teaching students botany and pharmacy. By the end of the century, more than 1 800 species were grown in the garden, many of them for the first time in Sweden. Olof Rudbecks´ botanical garden was largely destroyed by a fire in 1702. The univ ...
Founded: 1655 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Linnaeus Hammarby

Linnaeus Hammarby is one of three botanical gardens belonging to Uppsala University in Sweden. It was the former summer home of Carolus Linnaeus and his family. Today, few Swedish manor-houses preserve such an authentic milieu. It reflects the private life of Linnaeus as well as his scientific work. In 1758 Linnaeus bought two small estates: Sävja and Hammarby. During their first summers at Hammarby the Linnaeuses l ...
Founded: 1758 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Bror Hjorths Hus

Bror Hjorths Hus, (Bror Hjorth's House) is a museum of the artist Bror Hjorth (1894-1968). The museum has a large collection of Hjorth's work. The house which was built in 1943 was for 25 years the home and studio of Bror Hjorth. It became a museum in 1978.
Founded: 1978 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Vaksala Church

The grey-stone church of Vaksala was built in the 12th century. Two chapels were added in the 15th century. The altar, biggest in the Uppland diocese, was made in Antwerpen around the year 1500. The pulpit was carved in 1795.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Wik Castle

Wik Castle is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Sweden. The first owner was Israel And in the end of 13th century. The current magnificent castle with seven floors was built in the late 15th century. The massive walls and moats made the stronghold impregnable. During the Middle Ages, the castle was one of the sturdiest strongholds in the Mälaren Valley, and Gustav Wasa once besieged Wik Castle for over a ...
Founded: ca. 1450 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Runestones U-970 & U-969 at Burial Ground

These two stones are only a few meters apart on the side of a small burial mound at the side of an burial ground. Much of the burial ground is now used as pature for a 4-H Club. U-970 Translation - 'Vide raised the stone after..(missing).. Öpir....' Additional Info - Öpir is the runemaster who carved the stone and is one of the most prolific runemasters in the area. Both this stone and U #969, just a ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Stones of Mora

Stones of Mora was the place where the Swedish kings were elected. The origin of the tradition is unknown, but it has been known since the 13th century and mentioned by Snorri Sturlason (died 1241). The first known document tells that Magnus Ladulås was elected at the Stones of Mora in 1275. Magnus IV was elected at the stones on July 8, 1319 and Kristian I in 1457. He was the last to be elected at the stones. The ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Funbo Church

The Funbo Church is a medieval stone church, built in the late 12th century. It consists of a rectangular nave, a narrow choir and an apse. The sacristy and the porch were added in the 15th century. The porch was used as the main entrance until 1745, when the current entrance in the western wall was built. The bell tower was erected in 1675. The church interior includes some notable items, such as a 13th century baptisma ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Danmark Church

The first written record of church in Danmark locality date back to the year 1291. Close to the church are several stones with a Christian text and cross inscribed. The oldest parts of the present red-brick church are from the 1300s. In the late 1400s the church was enlarged to the appearance it has today. The church has been modified both internally and externally several times, among other things after the fires in 1699 ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Björklinge Church

The church of Björklinge was built originally in the early 14th century. It was enlarged in the 15th century and the present appearance originates mainly from the restoration made in 1655. The church contains a triptych and a sandstone font made before the Reformation. There are five stained glass windows made in 1658. The current altarpiece was carved in 1714. The church has also a rare 18th century organ, which h ...
Founded: 14th century, restored 1658 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

King Skute's mound

King Skute's mound, dating from the Late Iron Age, 500-1100 AD, is the largest of a total of six mounds. The site consists of raised stones and intriguing so-called hollows. According to tradition, King Skute was the founder of the village of Skuttunge.
Founded: 500-1100 AD | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Vaksala Runestone

The Vaksala Runestone is one of the approximately forty runestones made by the runemaster Öpir, who signed this inscription and was active in the late 11th and early 12th century in Uppland. This runestone style is characterized by slim and stylized animals that are interwoven into tight patterns. The animal heads are typically seen in profile with slender almond-shaped eyes and upwardly curled appendages on the nose ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Almunge Church

Almunge church was built in the 13th century and extended to the east in the 1660’s. The bell tower was added in the 16th century. Inside the church the most interesting artefacts are the imposing altar retable from 1717 and distinguished pulpit from 1716 made by Carl Spaak. Baptismal font of limestone was made in the 13th century and frescoes by Albertus Pictor in 1490s.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Västeråker Church

Västeråker church is one of few medieval churches in Sweden, which age, builder and building donations are well-known. The curch was built in 1331 and donated by Lady Ramborg, chatelaine of the near Wik Castle. Fine lightweight arches of the church are well-preserved and made with high quality, because Lady Ramborg hired labour who had been building the Uppsala Cathedral. Most of the mural paintings date from ...
Founded: 1331 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Tensta Church

The impressive church of Tensta is one of the oldest brick churches in Uppland. The oldest parts originate from the late 13th century. The sacristy and porch were built during the next century and arches between 1420-30. There are many fine medieval frescoes in the church. These are signed by the painter Johannes Rosenrod in 1437. They depict various religious themes including scenes from the life of St. Birgitta. The al ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Håga Mound

The Håga Mound (Hågahögen) or King Björn's Mound is one of the most magnificent remains from the Nordic Bronze Age. Håga mound is approximately 7 metres high and 45 metres across and it was constructed ca 1000 B.C. by the shore of a narrow inlet of the sea (the land has been continually rising since the Ice Age). It was constructed of turfs that had been laid on top of a cairn which was built o ...
Founded: ca. 1000 BC | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Jumkil Church

The medieval church of Jumkil was originally built in the early 13th century. The vaulting was made in the 16th century and detached bell tower was added in the mid-18th century. There are wooden sculptures and triumphal crucifix from the 16th century. Baptismal font is from the 12th century, made of Gotland sandstone, with many carved motifs, such as the birth of Jesus and the adoration of the Three Wise Men. The medieva ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.