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Uppsala Train
            StationRadhusetWe took a day trip to Uppsala, a university town and Sweden's fourth largest city, located 71 kilometers north of Stockholm. Leaving from Stockholm's central station which was only a few blocks from where were staying, we took the hour long train ride arriving at the Uppsala train station, shown in the photo to the left. In addition to seeing the sights of the town, it was a pilgrimage of sorts for Tracy, whose maternal great grandmother hailed from here. From here we journeyed to Uppsala's central square with the Radhuset, shown in the photo to the right. The former city hall and administrative seat of Uppsala municipality, it is now home to a restaurant. From there we headed southwest on Vaksalagatan toward the Cathedral and the university.

Fryrisan RiverUppsala CathedralBetween the hills on which the city center and the cathedral/university reside is the Fryris river which divides the two areas and forms a park of sorts between the two hills. The photo to the left shows one of several bridges that span the river, and gives a sense of the greenery found in this urban valley. Our first destination upon crossing the river and ascending the adjacent hill was the Uppsala Cathedral, shown in the photo to the right. Given the sheer verticality of the structure and the proximity of the street, it was difficult to get a complete view of the facade. As you can see from the photo it is an enormous structure with twin spires and a large clock located between them. After admiring the exterior for a moment (and to avoid the imminent rain) we ducked inside.

Uppsala Cathedral
            ceilingAkerman OrganUppsala is the seat of the Archbishop of Sweden and, for hundreds of years, the kings and queens of Sweden were crowned here. Although construction of the cathedral began in 1270, it was not consecrated until 1425, nearly 200 years later. The present layout of the church dates from its reconstruction, following the great fire of 1702. The church is as wide as it is tall, approximately 118 meters. The height of the ceiling above the central aisle (upper left photo) is 26.6 meters. At the rear of the church is the Akerman organ, the largest organ in Sweden when it was installed, and one of two organs in the cathedral--it is pictured in the photo at the upper right. The altar area is referred to as the "choir," and is depicted in the photo at the bottom left. The murals depict the the life of Jesus, the apostles, and other figures from the history of Christianity. The altar cross was designed by Bertil Berggren-Askentrom, and was dedicated in 1976. The chandelier above the altar is from 1648 and is the oldest in the cathedral. The
corbels or pillar surrounding the choir  are the oldest feature preserved in the cathedral. It is believed that these stone carvings were created by French stonemasons at the start of the 14th century. In front of the altar and in Cathedral Choirthe center of the cathedral's Vasa Chapelapse is the Vasa Chapel. It is here that King Gustav I is buried, along with his queens, his son, and his son's queen. This is shown in the photo at the lower right. In addition to the Vasa Chapel, there are 10 other chapels lining the sides of the cathedral dedicated to royalty, dignitaries, and religious figures.

Our next stop was Uppsala University. Founded in 1477, it is the oldest university in Sweden and all of the Nordic countries still in operation. It ranks among the world's 100 best universities in several high-profile international rankings. The university uses "Gratiae veritas naturae"  as its motto (Truth through the grace of God and through nature) and embraces the natural sciences. Below is a map-based virtual tour of the university.

Uppsala University
.Image Map
Instructions: You may tour this site either by clicking on the numbered images on the map, or by selecting a site from the table below. In either case a window will pop up, explaining that site. Simply click the "Close" button at the bottom of the popup window to return to the map. For the tour to work, you must have any ad-blocker disabled for this site. Please note that the "Close" button may not work on some mobile devices, in which case simply select the "Back" button on your browser or close the popup if it has opened in a separate window.
Konsistoriehuset Ekermanska
              huset Universitetsparken Universitetshuset Carolina
              Rediviva Gustavianum
1. Gustavianum
2. Carolina Rediviva
3. Universitetshuset
4. Universitetsparken
5. Ekermanska huset
6. Konsistoriehuset

Our final stop of the day was up a hill from Uppsala University to visit Uppsala Castle. The castle dates back to the reign of Gustav Vasa, who began construction of Uppsala Slott in 1549. The castle was the location of several major events in Swedish history. These include "Sturemorden" in 1567 (the murder by the mentally ill King Erik XIV of several noblemen accused of treason), and the decision by Gustav II Adolf that Sweden should participate in what would later develop into the Thirty Years' War. It was in the Rikssa (Hall of State) in the castle that Schering Rosenhane announced the abdication of Queen Kristina on 6 June, 1654. The castle was seriously damaged by fire in 1702, being reduced essentially to a ruin. Reconstruction took many years, and was indeed hampered by the remains of the castle being used as a quarry for stone to be used in building Stockholm Palace. Below is a virtual tour of key elements of Uppsala Castle.

Virtual Tour of Uppsala Castle
Entrance to Upsala CastleSnap Content
Virtual Reality Tour for VR Headsets:

QR CodeThere is also a version of this tour designed specifically for VR headsets such as Google Cardboard, and it works with both iPhone and Android devices. It may be access by scanning on the QR code to the left. If you are viewing this on a mobile phone, you may access the VR tour by following this link.

For iOS devices: scan QR code with your device's camera app, tap on the prompt to open Safari. Select "Allow Device Motion" and the next prompt, "Allow Access to Motion Orientation." Turn the device to landscape mode and a split screen will appear. When the screen turns white, swipe up for fullscreen mode, and place in headset. Here is a video of how to do this--it is simpler than it sounds! [The video opens in a new window--close when done to return to this page]

For Android devices: Open the camera app and use the built-in scanner to scan the QR code above. Confirm that you want to open the website, and wait for it to load--it should load in stereo view. Select the fullscreen ("X" option) from the menu at the bottom. Turn the device to landscape mode and you are ready to go. Here is a video of how to do this--it is simpler than it sounds! [The video opens in a new window--close when done to return to this page]

Breaking News--The Vikings are Back!
            BurialViking BurialThe day we visited Uppsala the news broke that a rare Viking boat burial site was unearthed in Uppsala, the first discovery of its kind in 50 years according to archeologists. Two Viking burial boats were unearthed in Gamla Uppsala, Sweden one of which was exceptionally preserved and held the remains of a dog, a man and a horse. The graves were uncovered during an excavation at a vicarage in Old Uppsala last autumn. They were found beneath a cellar and a well dating from the Middle Ages. The Vikings sent a handful of their powerful elites to the afterlife in boats laden with sacrificed animals, weapons and treasure; the funeral practice dates back to the Iron Age (A.D. 550 to 800) but was used throughout the Viking age (A.D. 800 to 1050). Viking BurialThese richly appointed graves have been discovered across Scandinavia. For example, archaeologists had previously found one such burial boat in Norway that had evidence of human remains and one in western Scotland that contained a slew of burial items such as an ax, a shield boss, a ringed pin, a hammer and tongs. The elites who were given such elaborate send-offs were also often buried with animals, such as stallions. Selected parts of the discovery will be put on display at the Gamla Uppsala Museum, Uppsala, and Stockholm's Swedish History Museum.

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