Stockholm Day Trip: Scandinavian History in Uppsala

About a 40 minute train ride north from Stockholm’s Central Station, Uppsala is largely known as a university town, but it is also home to numerous historical and cultural sites. Uppsala Cathedral (“Domkyrka”), the largest and tallest church in Scandinavia, is located at Domkyrkoplan, a short walk from the train station. The rose-hued Gothic towers loom over the town at nearly 400 feet tall. Construction of the original cathedral began in 1270 and took over 100 years to complete. Consecrated in 1435, the cathedral was severely damaged by a fire in the early 1700’s, having been restored in the late 1900’s. The cathedral holds the tombs of several prominent Swedes including King Gustav Vasa, botanist Carl Linnaeus and philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg among others. Across the way from the Cathedral on an islet of Fyrisån River is Upplands Museet (S:t Eriks torg 10), the county museum of Uppland. The museum is housed in the old Academy Mill from the late 1700’s. The permanent exhibits focus on the cultural history of the region, while temporary exhibits are of an international context and highlight more contemporary events. Carl Linnaeus, Sweden’s best known scientist, resided in Uppsala for 35 years. Visitors can visit his former home, now the The Linnaeus Museum (Svartbäcksg. 27), located within The Linnaeus Garden, which was the first botanical garden in Sweden, founded in 1655.

From the central station where the train arrived from Stockholm, catch the local bus (no. 2, 110, 115, 127) to Gamla Uppsala (“Old Uppsala”), one of the country’s most significant historical sites. Touring the area, visitors can view  the royal burial mounds from the 6th century and the 12th century cathedral.  The Gamla Uppsala Museum (Disavägen) explains the origins and importance of the ancient monuments in the area and tells the stories of powerful kings, vikings and medieval pilgrims that shaped the history of the old town.  Be sure to stop at Odinsborg, a restaurant and cafe located in an old Norse-style building, to enjoy some homemade mead, which they willingly serve in viking drinking horns when enough are on hand.