The stone church of Gamla Uppsala, built over the pagan temple, dates from the early 12th century. Due to fire and renovations, the present church is only a remnant of the original cathedral.

Before the arrival of Christianity in Sweden, Gamla Uppsala was the seat of Swedish kings and a ceremonial site known all over northern Europe. The settlement was home to royal palaces, a royal burial ground, and a great pagan temple. The Uppsala temple, which was described in detail by Adam of Bremen in the 1070s, housed wooden statues of the Norse gods Odin, Thor and Freyr. A golden chain hung across its gables and the inside was richly decorated with gold. The temple had priests, who sacrificed to the gods according to the needs of the people.

The first Christian cathedral was probably built in the 11th century, but finished in the 12th century. The stone building may have been preceded by a wooden church and probably by the large pagan temple. The church was the Archbishopric of Sweden prior to 1273, when the archbishopric was moved to Östra Aros (Östra Aros was then renamed Uppsala due to a papal request). After a fire in 1240, the nave and transepts of the cathedral were removed leaving only the choir and central tower, and with the addition of the sacristy and the porch gave the church its present outer appearance.

In the 15th century, vaults were added as well as chalk paintings. Among the medieval wooden sculptures there are three crucifixes from the 12th, 13th and 15th centuries. Valerius (Archbishop of Uppsala) is buried here. Eric IX of Sweden was as well, before being moved to Uppsala Cathedral.

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Details

Founded: ca. 1164
Category: Religious sites in Sweden
Historical period: Consolidation (Sweden)

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Olga P (4 years ago)
Nice place worth a visit.
Tino Qahoush (4 years ago)
Beautiful historical church
Katariina Heikkinen (4 years ago)
Very beautiful old church. There is a good collection of old artifacts in the church. The paintings on the walls were really beautiful as well, please remember to look the ceiling as well. Really recommended visiting this unique building whether you are religious or not.
Lajos J. Hajdu (4 years ago)
Medieval church, redesigned several times. Erected on the top of a pagan sanctuary. Beautifully preserved wall paintings. According the Swedish custom the bell tower is separated from the church. Three huge viking mounds are flanking the site and a mini skansen Disa gården is worth your time.
Panagiotis Kostoulas (4 years ago)
Very nice old church.
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