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Sweden: Katarina Kyrkan

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Katarina Kyrkan | Sweden | Europe

[Visited: November 2009]

When I walked from the subway station in the direction of Karatina Kyrka, or Katarina Church, I passed a modern mosque. Somehow, it underlined the development of this European nation: where many foreigners now populate this Scandinavian country, bringing with them religions not originally found here, Sweden once was battleground for wars between Vikings themselves. Actually, the hill on which Karatina Kyrkan is located, was the site of a massacre in 1520 during which king Christian II of Denmark slaughtered tens of prominent Swedes in the Stockholm Bloodbath, among them clergy and other defenceless people who opposed the Danish invasion - a betrayal of the promise of amnesty by the Danish king. Nowadays, it is hard to imagine wars between these countries, they once were arch enemies. To commemorate the brutal feat, a church was built on the hilltop, which I found after only a few minutes walk.

Picture of Katarina Kyrkan (Sweden): Katarina Kyrkan and surrounding park in autumn

Karatina Kyrkan, or Church of Catherine, is surrounded by a small park. As it was November, the trees had all but shed their last leaves, the few remaining ones a bright yellow - but most leaves were already spread all over the grass and lanes of the park. The grey sky promised rain - but for the time being, it was still dry. Somehow, it provided an appropriate setting for visiting the cemetery. Actually, there is no organized cemetery as such - graves can be found in various parts of the park, mostly in the corners. The yellow autumn leaves proved a nice frame for the tombstones. At the far corner of the park, I noticed a beautiful gate with royal weapon.

Picture of Katarina Kyrkan (Sweden): Huge chandelier hanging down from the ceiling of Katarina Kyrkan

When the rain finally started to come down, I entered the church proper. From the outside, it looks imposing and perfect - in fact, even though a first church was built here in the mid 17th century, it burnt down twice and was rebuilt in the 1990s, hence the new look. Inside, as is often the case in Lutheran Scandinavian churches, I found the interior to be quite bare. At the same time, there were various beautiful objects, like bronze bells, an enormous organ, and an ornate chandelier hanging down from the ceiling. After exiting the church, I looked for the grave of Anna Lindh, the former minister of Foreign Affairs who was murdered in 2003 and was laid to rest close to Karatina Kyrkan. Rain was still trickling down, but the trickle had subsided.

Picture of Katarina Kyrkan (Sweden): Grave surrounded by autumn leaves near Katarina Kyrkan
Picture of Katarina Kyrkan (Sweden): Graves and Katarina Kyrkan in the background
Picture of Katarina Kyrkan (Sweden): Royal insignia in iron above an entrance to the park of Katarina Kyrkan
Picture of Katarina Kyrkan (Sweden): Candles burning inside Katarina Kyrkan
Picture of Katarina Kyrkan (Sweden): Balcony inside Katarina Kyrkan
Picture of Katarina Kyrkan (Sweden): Anna Lindh, murdered while serving as minister of Foreign Affairs, is buried at Katarina Kyrkan
Picture of Katarina Kyrkan (Sweden): Corner of the small park surrounding Katarina Kyrkan with fountain and candles
Picture of Katarina Kyrkan (Sweden): Van den Heuvel Organ reaching to the ceiling inside Katarina Kyrkan
Picture of Katarina Kyrkan (Sweden): Row of bronze bells inside Katarina Kyrkan
Picture of Katarina Kyrkan (Sweden): Old cross and trees at Katarina Kyrkan
Picture of Katarina Kyrkan (Sweden): Detailed view of the cemetery near Katarina Kyrkan
Picture of Katarina Kyrkan (Sweden): Sculptured head on a tombstone near Katarina Kyrkan
Picture of Katarina Kyrkan (Sweden): Autumn view of a lane near Katarina Kyrkan

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