|The old church at Gamle Uppsala|
The 12th century church next to the mounds was a cathedral before it burned and was replaced by the larger spired cathedral in town. The replacement church is filled with artwork on walls and ceilings. We were too early to check out the well-regarded museum but thoroughly enjoyed our walk through the grounds and visit to the church.
|Part of the old town|
|Separate bell tower|
Unfortunately, we didn’t learn until later that this is one of the most important Swedish sites for ancient rock carvings, one of which is displayed in the church walls. This happens more often than, as an experienced traveler, I’d like to admit. But that occurs when you make unscheduled stops just because a place looks interesting and probably isn’t in the guide book anyway.
An hour or so later we stopped for a burger in Åskersund (at McDonald’s, but please don’t tell anyone). Next to the roundabout was another striking example of Swedish church architecture. Åskersunds Landskyrka was built of stone with a wooden roof during the Middle Ages. Destroyed by fire in 1661, Johan Oxenstjerna hired an architect to rebuild it. Before construction could begin, he died and his young widow Christina despaired that she would not be able to afford the reconstruction costs. Her sister advised her to talk to Count Gustav Soop who agreed to finance the new church. They married in time for the church dedication in 1670. The Oxenstjerna and Soop coats of arms highlight the wall displays. Wood carvings on the pulpit show the Passion. The altarpiece shows the Last Supper and Crucifixion. The organ was added in 1790. Christina and her two husbands have their coffins in the church.
The rest of the drive to Vetlanda was an uneventful drive through the beautiful countryside.