All pictures were taken in June-August 2002.
Last change: 2010-11-27

Gamla Uppsala (Old Uppsala)

The Old Uppsala is located slightly north of Uppsala. There are 2000-3000 graves in the area, of which about 250 are visible above ground today. The three large "king's mounds" are from the 6th century.

This was also a central place for the early Swedish kingdom in the viking era (8th-11th century) and it is believed that there was a large temple for Odin, Thor and Frey in the area, although the exact site has not been found.

Uppsala Högar Uppsala Högar

The present church is part of a larger cathedral that became the new archbishop's seat in 1164. It was later destroyed by fire around 1245. At this time the center has moved downstream to Östra Aros (east rivermouth) which became the new Uppsala, so the new cathedral was built there.

The Castle

The castle began as a fortress, built by king Gustav Vasa in in 1549, which is now a small part below the south wing and the mound where the Gunilla Bell is standing.

The large, dominating structure we see today, the south wing and the long east ship, was built after the fire in 1572, and finished around 1600. It was then all but destroyed in the big fire of 1702, and stood as a ruin until 1744 when a reconstruction began. It has since been undergoing reconstruction and restorations several times into the 20th century.

Today it houses an art gallery, University departments, and the residence home of the District Guvernor.

The castle was undergoing a face lift at the time of this picture (2002), where the facade was restored to its earlier color and ornamentation. You can see the new look at the south wing to the right in the picture. The restoration began in 2001 and was finished in 2003.

The castle seen from the botanical garden.

Gunillaklockan (The Gunilla Bell) by the castle, with the cathedral in the background.

The Botanical Garden

The Botanical Garden we see today was originally the castle garden which was donated to the University by king Gustav III in 1787. Its predecessors were located elsewhere, founded in 1655 by Olof Rudbeck, but destroyed in the 1702 fire, and later the Linneaus Garden that Linnaeus began building in 1745.

The original Baroque Gardet (seen from the castle's courtyard).

The garden has later expanded to the south. The veiw towards the castle has since then unfortunately been completely ruined by a new four-storied concrete and glass building!

The University Building

Uppsala University was founded in 1477. This "main building" was finished in 1887. It contains an aula, some lecture rooms, and a few smaller departments. Around 1870 the University consisted of 110 teachers and 1500 students; today the bulk of the University's 37000 students and 5500 employees are spread out in about ten campus areas throughout the city.

The statue is Erik Gustaf Geijer (1783-1847), historian, philosofer, writer, composer, and professor of history at the University from 1817.

The Cathedral

Uppsala Cathedral is the largest gothic church in the Nordic countries, 118.7 meters tall and of the same length. Construction began in the 13th century and continued for about 100-150 years, at times paused. It was opened in 1435. Although the basic brick and stone construction has stood since the beginning, the roof, towers and interior has been partially destroyed by fire twice, in 1572 and in 1702. The spires in particular have undergone several reconstructions. The current ones were built during the major restoration in 1886-93. The last restoration was in 1971-76 with preservation as the main objective.

There is also a smaller and much simpler church just by the cathedral. Helga Trefaldighetskyrkan (The Holy Trinity Church) was also built in the 13th century. This might seem odd, but this is because there were two parishes, the Cathedral served the city people, while the smaller church was for the farmers outside Uppsala.


Gustavianum, by the cathedral, is also a museum. (The ball on top of the Anatomical Theater is a sundial.)

"Kvarnfallet" (The Mill Fall). The mill (the large white building) is now a museum for the district of Uppland.

One of the rune stones in the park by the University building.

Most stones from this late period (11th century) follow more or less the same formula. "A raised the stone after B (related)", sometimes with the name of the stone cutter added, or variations on this theme.

This stone is unusual in several ways. First, it's raised by Vigmund over himself, telling the world what a great guy he is! Second, it's not only cut on two sides (just one is more common), on the right-hand side the runes are "mirrored", that is, flipped over and read from the right to the left. Although this was not unusual several hundreds of years earlier, at the time of this inscription the left-to-right reading was completely dominating.

The left hand transcription:

uihmuntr lit agua stain at sig selfon slyiastr mono guD ialbi sial uihmuntar styrimons

The right hand transcription:

uihmuntr auk afiriD eku merki at kuikuan sik


Vigmundr let haggva stæn at sik sialfan, sløgiastr manna. Guð hialpi sial VigmundaR styrimanns. - Vigmundr ok Afrið hioggu mærki at kvikvan sik.

Translated into modern Swedish:

"Vigmund lät hugga stenen till minne av sig själv, den skickligaste av män. Gud hjälpe Vigmund skeppshövdingens själ - Vigmund och Åfrid högg minnesmärket, medan han levde."

and in English:

"Vigmund, shrewdest of men, had the stone cut in memory of himself. God help the soul of Vigmund the steersman. Vigmund and Åfrid cut the memorial in his lifetime."

(Source: "Upplands Runinskrifter", fourth part, first volume. The stone ID is U1011. English translation by Peter Foote in "Runes in Sweden" by Sven B.F. Jansson.)