Foto: Johan Nilsson

Building

Uppsala Cathedral was built 750 years ago, around 1270. St Erik’s reliquary, the cathedral’s major artefact, was moved here from the former cathedral in Old Uppsala as early as 1273.

The new cathedral was finally ready to be consecrated in 1435. Lack of money, the cold climate and outbreaks of plague during the 1300s all contributed to the very long time it took to build the cathedral.

The cathedral was built of bricks fabricated close to the construction site. The columns at the front of the cathedral are made of limestone from Gotland. The eastern part of the cathedral with the large chapels surrounding the chancel was built first. In several places the walls, vaults and columns were decorated with paintings.

The nave, the western part where the pews stand today, was built later during the latter half of the 1300s and the early 1400s. The towers were built several decades after the cathedral’s consecration.

The cathedral has seen several fires. Most damage was caused by the Great Fire of 1702. Following the fire, the cathedral was given a partly new appearance reflecting Sweden’s break with the Roman Catholic Church in the 1500s.

At the end of the 1880s the renovation ideal had changed and between 1885 and 1893 the cathedral was renovated in the neo-Gothic style. It was then that the cathedral was given its present murals, stained glass windows and tall pointed spires. Uppsala Cathedral today is as tall as it is long: 118.7 metres.

Between 1971 and 1976 new tapestries were hung in five chapels to strengthen the chapels’ role as places of devotion.

The cathedral has two large organs. To the west stands Per Larsson Åkerman’s organ from 1871. It has 50 stops and is an example of the breakthrough of Romanticism in organ-building. The largest of the organ’s 2,532 pipes is 12 metres tall.

In 2009 Fratelli Ruffatti’s organ was inaugurated in the north transept. It follows the modern trend of versatile organs. The new organ has 70 stops, 4,175 pipes and 37 bells. The manual in the centre of the cathedral can be moved as needed for concerts or services