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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Details

Founded: 1287-1435
Category: Religious sites in Sweden
Historical period: Consolidation (Sweden)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Olga P (5 months ago)
Beautiful building
Debapriya Roy (5 months ago)
What a beautiful place!!! With its huge structure and serenity it is bound to make you nostalgic and revisit the history again.
Panagiotis Kostoulas (5 months ago)
Very nice Cathedral. I enjoy every visit I pay because it is nice and quiet, a place to concentrate and pray...
Carlo Alberto Scola (6 months ago)
Beautiful church in the middle of the little Uppsala. It is being restructured on the outside front. Interesting to visit.
Jade Angel Nails (8 months ago)
Had a wonderful time at the Uppsala Cathedral and lots to do around the area as you can eat and drink on the canal and got to the shops. Amazing place. Recommend...
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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.