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Sweden: Gamla Uppsala

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Gamla Uppsala | Sweden | Europe

[Visited: November 2002]

Gamla Uppsala, Swedish for Old Uppsala, is the place where a settlement was built in the 5th century CE. It nowadays consists of several mounds, or burial hills, and a cathedral which was built on the spot of a former pagan temple. This was also the site where ancient rites were performed. These rites were bloody events which took place every 9 years and lasted 9 days; they included sacrificing both humans and animals.

Picture of Gamla Uppsala (Sweden): Gamla Uppsala: East Mount

The cathedral nowadays is the most remarkable sight of Gamla Uppsala. King Eric was decapitated here in the 12th century, after which he became a hero. It was only when the former cathedral burned down in the 13th century, that Uppsala was transferred to its present location - the name included. This was only possible after the pope gave his blessing for the change. King Eric's remains were taken to the cathedral in modern-day Uppsala.

Picture of Gamla Uppsala (Sweden): Cemetery and cathedral at Gamla Uppsala

For centuries, people carried his shrine in procession from Gamla Uppsala to Uppsala, this path turned to become Eric's path and can still be walked all the way to Uppsala. I only walked the first part, which took me along the mounds. At the place where burial sites are supposed to be (I unfortunately never found them), I turned right and took smaller paths to return to the cathedral. In this lovely religious place, built with thick walls, the sunlight plays on the walls inside. The peaceful atmosphere is only disturbed by fighter jets approaching the nearby military airport.

Picture of Gamla Uppsala (Sweden): Old Uppsala: Viking drawings on old runes
Picture of Gamla Uppsala (Sweden): Cathedral of Gamla Uppsala
Picture of Gamla Uppsala (Sweden): Gamla Uppsala: mounds and Cathedral

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Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Gamla Uppsala (Sweden). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Gamla Uppsala.
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