History in Uppsala

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Uppsala is one of the historically most important places in Sweden. Since the 5th century AD, Uppsala has been a religious and political and later also academic centre in the country. The impressive burial mounds in Old Uppsala testify the importance of the area in the time from 400 to 1100 AD. Carvings in the rune stones, which are found at numerous places in Uppsala county, show that the vikings were not only savage robbers and looters, but had great artistic skills as well.

After christianization, Uppsala soon became the seat of the archbishop of Sweden (which it still is). The cathedral was built next to the mounds of Gamla (Old) Uppsala. After it was partly destroyed in a fire, Uppsala was moved to its present position where trade already flourished, and the former town was renamed to Old Uppsala.

The university (founded 1477) is the oldest in northern Europe. The fact that Uppsala became the city to host the university documents the city's importance in the late middle ages. Together with the castle and northern Europe's greatest cathedral, the university dominates Uppsala's silhouette. The castle is built on the highest point of the city by the Wasa dynasty kings in the 16th century, during the time Sweden was on its way to become a great power in Europe.

During the 16th and 17th century, Uppsala was the crowning city for the Swedish kings and queens. One of the most famous Uppsala citizens of that time was Carl von Linne (in English usually called Carl Linnaeus), who invented the classification and nomenclature of the flora and fauna, which is still in use today. You can follow his footprints all over Uppsala's old town.

Not much was left of the medieval town of Uppsala after several devastating fires. After the fire of 1602, which did not leave many buildings unharmed, the street net was nearly completely re-drawn, after that time's fashion with rectangular blocks. Some remains of the old net are preserved close to the cathedral.

Being neutral in both world wars, Sweden's cities were not destroyed by bombs. However, the concrete rush in the 60ies and 70ies had a similar effect on many old buildings in the city centre. Today the buildings in the pedestrian area are a very "central European" mixture of old and more modern architecture.

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June 12, 2005 change by ingvar

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