Gamla Uppsala, Sweden

Today my friends took me to the Uppsala Commune, north of Stockholm. We walked around Gamla Uppsala which has huge burial mounds of Viking kings and a small medieval church.

I was surprised at the massive size of the burial mounds dating from the 6th and/or 7th centuries.

A short walk from the mounds is the Old Uppsala Church. The small but beautiful structure is what remains of a large 12th- century church that burned in the early 13th century. Originally a Catholic church, it is now Lutheran.

Building adjacent to the church. Unknown purpose.

Roskilde Cathedral

The resting place of Denmark’s kings and queens

I took a short train ride to Roskilde today to visit the Roskilde Cahedral. It is famous because it is the first Gothic church built from brick and it is the burial site of Denmark’s kings and queens.

The original brick church was begun in the 1170s, shortly after brick making was introduced. Several earlier churches had been built on the site.

Until the Reformation in 1563, the cathedral was a Catholic church. It is now the Church of Denmark, which is Lutheran. Most of the frescoes and ornamentation from before 1563 was destroyed or covered.

Some earlier decoration still exists in a few side chapels, which hold sarcophagi and funerary monuments. Ceiling from the Chapel of the Magi, mid 15th-century.

I was amused by the nude woman on the pulpit staircase. Even for the early 17th-century, this seems very risque for Lutherans. Maybe it is Eve, or Salome.

The sarcophagus of Queen Margrete I, dated 1423.

The glass sarcophagus in which the current queen, Margrethe II, will be buried is under this covering. Her husband Prince Henrik, who died last year, refused to be buried in Roskilde because he had never been made king.

I have always admired Protestant churches for something you don’t find in many Gothic Catholic churches: central heating.

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