Sweden Road Trip

The Royal Mounds & Old Uppsala

Old Uppsala

Old Uppsala is an area famous for its important role in the early period of Swedish history, and it’s a never-ending source of cultural and mythological stories. Around 1500-1600 years ago, it was a ruling political and religious node in the region and Old Uppsala even hosted the seat of the first kings in pre-historic Sweden, allegedly the Yngling family that are said to descend from the god Frej himself.

Up until the 16th century, Old Uppsala had grown into the largest village in Sweden by population, and the long and rich history of the area has left a significant historical treasure behind.

The Royal Mounds are the most prominent and majestic remaining mounds of what once was 2000-3000 burial sites in Old Uppsala. People are known to have been buried in the area for 2000 years, but the burial traditions themselves have always been changing – mounds, tombs, together with weapons and precious belongings or even burning the dead, sending them off to the afterlife in Valhalla.

The Royal Mounds

The Royal Mounds dates back to the Migration Period in Europe, between the 5th and 9th century, and even before the time of the vikings in Sweden. They have always been clouded with mystery and their meaning has changed over the years. Some poeple believed them to be monumental symbols of an early Swedish primitive settlement, while others saw them as remnants of a pagan culture. Over time, history has mixed with legends and folklore, and the mounds have been attributed as burial site for kings as well as gods. The name, The Royal Mounds or Kungshögarna, are derived from the theory that the three mythical kings of Eadgils, Ongentheow and Aun the Old are buried beneath the massive layers of soil…



“New” Uppsala

The current city of Uppsala is actually not new at all and the first settlements dates all the way back to the 12th century. During the 13th century, the archbishop seat was moved here from the old site just north of the city and the name Uppsala moved with it. To this day, the city has been the central religious node in Sweden for hundreds of years. The mighty Uppsala Cathedral was inaugurated in 1435 and still holds the Swedish archbishop seat in the middle of the city.

Today, Uppsala is the 4th largest city in Sweden and also holds a very prominent university (in fact the oldest one in Scandinavia) with higher education ranging from medical to law and economics. Besides the cathedral, other interesting sights in the city is Uppsala Castle and the Gustavianum museum, which exhibits objects and artifacts from a vast period of Swedish history.


How to get there?

Old Uppsala is located just outside the current city of Uppsala, which in turn is about 40 minutes drive north from Stockholm on the E4 highway.

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