I can’t believe that I waited an entire year to visit the remarkable city of Uppsala, especially since it takes less than one hour to get there by train from Stockholm Central Station. Several bloggers have already written about Uppsala as a thriving hub for life sciences, but my visit was strictly touristic in nature. Uppsala is not only beautiful, but it is an important city in Sweden. For nearly a millenium, Uppsala has been the ecclesiastical center of Sweden, and Uppsala University is the oldest center of higher education in Scandinavia. As you will see, Uppsala is a city of many superlatives.
If you decide to visit, I highly recommend stopping by the tourist information office across the square from the train station. The woman working there was incredibly friendly and helpful, provided us with all the maps and brochures we needed, and pointed out all of the major tourist sites that are possible to see in one day. She was also able to give information about the bus to Gamla Uppsala (more on this below).
After walking through picturesque streets, we reached the Uppsala Cathedral. Apparently it is the tallest church building in the Nordic countries.
My pictures don’t reveal much about the fascinating exhibit we saw called “Heaven is Here,” which will continue to be on display until November 16th of this year. We all enjoyed the juxtaposition of modern with ancient. Below is one of the most impressive objects. Made around 1160, this is in all probability the funeral crown of St. Erik, the Swedish king. Little did I know that St. Erik is the patron saint of Stockholm and that his head is depicted on Stockholm’s coat of arms.Next, we visited Uppsala University. Below is the University Main Building (Universitetshuset).Below is the famous main university library Carolina Rediviva. Just a few of its treasures include the Silver Bible (Sweden’s most precious book and the most comprehensive surviving text in Gothic), a textbook belonging to Copernicus with his actual handwriting, a page from the Gutenberg Bible, the oldest surviving document in Swedish (a mortgage deed), Mozart’s handwritten manuscript, an original conquistador map of what is now Mexico City… The list actually goes on.Below is not a picture from the library (no pictures were allowed), but rather from the exhibit in the Uppsala Cathedral. There were many cool books like this, however.After lunch by the Fyris River, we headed to the castle (not pictured). From there, we had a great view of the Botanical Garden, which was founded by the famous scholar Carl Linnaeus.Our last stop was Gamla Uppsala, which is a short bus ride away from the city center. In pre-history, this site was the residence of the Swedish kings of the oldest known Scandinavian dynasty. It was known as a pagan cult center and is the site of burial mounds which can still be seen to this day. Make sure to visit the museum to learn more about Gamla Uppsala’s remarkable history.