Uppsala Cathedral

Uppsala, Sweden

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 started ca. 1287, when the archbishopric was moved from Old Uppsala. It took more than a century to complete. When inaugurated in 1435 under archbishop Olaus Laurentii, the cathedral was not completely finished. It was dedicated to Saint Lawrence, Saint Eric and Saint Olaf. It was completed within the following decades.

The cathedral was severely damaged in 1702 in a disastrous fire and restored near the turn of the 20th century. The twin spires were added between 1885-1893 by architect Helgo Zettervall. He replaced the small Baroque towers with tall (French-inspired) spires, including a third, smaller tower on the transept crossing in the same style. Zettervall also so significantly altered large portions of the medieval outer brick walls as to give it a slimmer appearance.

The interior ceiling and walls of the cathedral were decorated in neo-Gothic style. Some depictions, such as one of the Reformation's Martin Luther, added figures beyond the cathedral's medieval heritage. Large portions of cement additions by Zettervall to the exterior structure of the cathedral were removed decades later as they adversely affected the building's fabric. A sign denouncing antisemitism marks the position of the "Jewpig", a relief depicting Jews drinking from a sow.

The Cathedral has been the coronation church for many of Sweden's kings and queens. It was the site of celebrating coronations from the Middle Ages 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.

A number of Swedish kings and notable people were buried inside the cathedral like Eric the Saint (he was actually killed in the cathedral in 1160), Gustav Vasa (d. 1560) and John III (d. 1592) with his wife Catherine Jagiellon. Other notable are Carolus Linnaeus, 18th century world-renowned botanist and Laurentius Petri, Sweden's first Lutheran archbishop. In the cathedral is also a small memorial to Dag Hammarskjöld, former Secretary-General of the United Nations.

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