Uppsala - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Uppsala


A small city just north of Stockholm with some serious staying power, Uppsala is dominated by the Uppsala University, which provides it with interesting museums (like the Museum Gustavianum), and an energetic nightlife. The exuberant population throws itself into festivals and parties alike, and Uppsala has many bars and clubs, as well as a variety of cafes and restaurants.

However there is more to this city, whose history stretches back to the Bronze Age. This original settlement was founded on the west bank of the Fyris River, with the the more modern and commercial city taking shape across the river to the east. Uppsala's long history means it has many historical sites and beautiful buildings, including the Uppsala Cathedral, which is Scandinavia's largest church; and the Gustavianum, which contains the Museum of Nordic Antiquities, the Victoria Museum, and the University's cultural history collections. Another site of architectural interest is Uppsala Castle, situated on a hill near the University and home to several more museums.

Uppsala is a pretty city, with a number of botanical gardens and parks, including Carl Linnaeus' personal garden. Pedestrian walkways like Svartbäcksgatan are pleasant to stroll along, amid shops and cafes. Most of Uppsala's attractions are within walking distance of the city centre, however there are several interesting places to visit further out, including Hammarby Estate and the beachside town of Älvkarleby. Three miles (5km) north of the city is Gamla Uppsala, the remains of an ancient town, which is accessible by bus.

Information & Facts

Swedish is the main language, with Lapp being spoken by the Sami population in the north. Most Swedes speak and understand English. Many also speak German and French.

The Swedish monetary unit is the Kronor/Krona or Crown (SEK), which is divided into 100 öre. Banks exchange money during business hours from Monday to Friday. At other times money can be changed at airports, ferry terminals, post offices and Forex exchange offices, which are open daily. There are numerous ATMs throughout the country, most of which accept MasterCard and Visa. Travellers cheques and most major credit cards are widely accepted for payment throughout Sweden.

GMT +1 (GMT +2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).

Three miles (5km) north of Uppsala, Gamla Uppsala was once an important town, the seat of Swedish royalty and where many important funerals were held. The Uppsala temple oversaw rites and sacrifices to the Norse gods in the pre-Christian era, and it was said that Odin himself resided there. As Christianity overtook Europe, the temple was burned and the stone church of Gamla Uppsala was built in the 12th century. The church still stands today, along with a vast grave field of 2-3,000 ancient burial mounds, and the remains of several houses. Gamla Uppsala also has a small museum detailing the rich history of the town. The town is accessible from Uppsala by bus.

The Linnaeus Garden was founded in 1655 as the first botanical garden in Sweden. It wasn't until the 18th century that Carl Linnaeus (also known as Carolus Linnaeus or Carl von Linne), a prominent Swedish botanist zoologist, physician, and father of modern taxonomy and ecology, redesigned the garden and began cultivating plants under his own system. It now contains roughly 1,300 species, and is maintained by Uppsala University. Within the garden is the Linnaeus museum, which was the scientist's home for 35 years.

The biggest church in Scandinavia at 390 feet (119m), the Uppsala Cathedral, also called the Uppsala Domkyrka, dominates the city's skyline. The church was built in the 14th century for royal coronations, and is now the seat for the Archbishop for the Lutheran Church of Sweden. A number of Swedish kings and other prominent citizens are interred inside. The exterior of the cathedral is made of red brick, with a French Gothic interior featuring murals of St Erik, the patron saint of Sweden. There is also a small museum housing ecclesiastical relics, and a graveyard with elaborately-carved tombstones.

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