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 representative renaissance palace. During Erik XIV's reign, the castle was the site of the Sture Murders, where several famous noblemen (among them three members of the influential Sture family) were killed. In 1630, King Gustavus II Adolphus announced the decision that Sweden should participate in the Thirty Years' War. It was in the castle that the Swedish government announced the abdication of Queen Kristina in 1654.
Uppsala Castle was seriously damaged by fire in 1702, being reduced essentially to a ruin. Reconstruction took many years and was indeed hampered by the remains of the castle being used as a quarry for stone to be used in building Stockholm Palace.
Uppsala Castle was the administrative center of Uppland and the site of the Hall of State (Rikssalen) for many years. Uppsala Castle is the residence of the County Governor of Uppsala County. Dag Hammarskjöld, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, spent his childhood days in the castle when his father, Hjalmar Hammarskjöld, was governor of Uppsala County. Today, the castle is also the site of the Uppsala Art Museum.References:
St. Stephen"s Basilica is a Roman Catholic basilica named in honour of Stephen, the first King of Hungary (c. 975–1038), whose supposed right hand is housed in the reliquary. It was the sixth largest church building in Hungary before 1920. Today, it is the third largest church building in present-day Hungary.
The basilica was completed in 1905 after 54 years of construction, according to the plans of Miklós Ybl, and was completed by József Kauser. Much of this delay can be attributed to the collapse of the dome in 1868 which required complete demolition of the completed works and rebuilding from the ground up.
The architectural style is Neo-Classical; it has a Greek cross ground plan. The façade is anchored by two large bell towers. In the southern tower is Hungary"s biggest bell, weighing over 9 tonnes. Its predecessor had a weight of almost 8 tonnes, but it was used for military purposes during World War II. Visitors may access the dome by elevators or by climbing 364 stairs for a 360° view overlooking Budapest.
At first, the building was supposed to be named after Saint Leopold, the patron saint of Austria, but the plan was changed in the very last minute, so it became St. Stephen"s Basilica.
The Saint Stephen Basilica has played an active role in the musical community since its consecration in 1905. The head organists of the church have always been very highly regarded musicians. In the past century the Basilica has been home to choral music, classical music as well as contemporary musical performances. The Basilica choir performs often in different parts of Europe as well as at home. In the summer months they perform every Sunday. During these months you can see performances from many distinguished Hungarian and foreign organ players alike.