Uppsala Cathedral - History

History

The construction of the cathedral be the archbishopric was moved from Old Uppsala (Swedish: Gamla Uppsala). It took more than a century to complete. When inaugurated in 1435 under archbishop Olaus Laurentii, the cathedral was not completely finished. It was dedicated to Saint Lawrence, highly cherished in all of Sweden at that time; Saint Eric, the patron of Sweden (though never canonised by the Roman Catholic Church); and Saint Olaf, the patron of Norway. It was completed within the following decades.

Between 1885-1893, the architect Helgo Zettervall (1831-1907) oversaw a second restoration, intending for the cathedral a French Gothic revival appearance, which was popular in the late 19th century. The original, medieval style was Baltic International Gothic, characterised by relatively robust brick walls. He replaced the small Baroque towers with tall (French-inspired) spires, including a third, smaller tower on the transept crossing in the same style. Zettervall also so significantly altered large portions of the medieval outer brick walls as to give it a slimmer appearance. He removed the white-washed "blind windows" which had been similar to those on parts of the nearby Holy Trinity Church (Swedish: Helga trefaldighets kyrka).

The interior ceiling and walls of the cathedral were decorated in neo-Gothic style. Some depictions, such as one of the Reformation's Martin Luther, added figures beyond the cathedral's medieval heritage. Large portions of cement additions by Zettervall to the exterior structure of the cathedral were removed decades later as they adversely affected the building's fabric.

A sign denouncing antisemitism marks the position of the "Jewpig", a relief depicting Jews drinking from a sow.

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