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 stately structure in a sort of Romanesque Renaissance style. The strange thing is that, despite much modernizing and functional changes, we still experience largely the same building that visitors encountered in the 1880s. Its magnificent and spacious foyer with its light cupolas and the Grand Auditorium, which seats about 1800, gives us a good idea of the best of 19th-century Swedish architecture. Above the entrance to the Aula we read the often-quoted words of the 18th-century philosopher Thomas Thorild: “It is a great thing to think freely, but it is greater still to think correctly.”
There are many other grand rooms in the building. On the ground floor, the University Board convenes in a room with portraits of all the Swedish kings from Gustavus Wasa to Gustavus VI Adolphus. On the upper level there is the so-called Chancellor’s Room, where the University’s rector receives prominent guests. This room, like a series of other connecting rooms, is adorned with numerous portraits depicting kings, cultural figures, and above all professors who have been active at the University over the centuries. In one of the rooms there is a famous group picture representing the Faculty of Theology in 1911, with Nathan Söderblom as dean. The artist was Emerik Stenberg. Uppsala University’s art collection is one of the largest in the country owned by the Swedish state.
The University Main Building is also the venue for many academic ceremonies. Each year between 15 and 25 new full professors are solemnly inaugurated in the Grand Auditorium. Another ceremony steeped in atmosphere and tradition is the conferring of degrees, when the year’s recipients of doctor’s degrees receive their doctor’s hat or wreath of laurels—a tradition harking back to the year 1600.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.