1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Upsala

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UPSALA, or Uppsala, a city of Sweden, the seat of a university and of the archbishop of Sweden, chief town of the district (län) of Upsala, 41 m. N. of Stockholm by the Northern railway. Pop. (1900) 22,855. It has water-communication with Stockholm by the river Fyris and the northward arm of Lake Mälar, into which it flows. The older part of the city lies on its sloping west bank, the cathedral and castle occupying dominating heights, with the university buildings below. West and south is a girdle of gardens. The new town occupies the flat east bank, and the whole is set in a fertile plain.

The university, the chief and oldest in Sweden, was founded in 1477 by Archbishop Jakob Ulfsson. The university building, completed in 1887, lies west of the cathedral. It has a fine vestibule with galleries, lit from a cupola, a senate-hall, rooms for the governing body, and lecture rooms. The whole is very richly adorned. The library building was erected in 1819–41. It is on the site of the Academia Carolina, founded by Charles IX., and is known in consequence as Carolina Rediviva. Since 1707 the library has had the right of receiving a copy of every work printed in Sweden, and its MS. collection is also large and valuable. Among the MSS. is the famous Codex Argenteus (6th century), a translation of the Gospels in the Gothic of Bishop Ulfilas (4th century). Other university institutions are the chemical laboratory, the chemical, physical and pathological institutes, the anatomy house, and the collection of Northern antiquities. The last is situated in the old botanic garden, where Rudbeck and Linnaeus worked, and Linnaeus had his residence. The new botanic garden, W. of the castle hill, was given by Gustavus III. in 1787. The astronomical observatory was founded in 1730, though there was a professorial chair in the preceding century. The Victoria Museum contains Egyptian antiquities. The Royal Society of Sciences, founded in 1710 by Archbishop Erik Benzelius, occupies a house of its own and has a valuable library. Among other learned societies in the university are the Royal Association for Literary Science, and the Society for Swedish Literature. The annual expenditure of the university amounts to about £56,000, a large proportion of which is covered by a grant from parliament. The revenue of the university itself, however, amounts to about £25,000, a considerable part of which is still drawn from the property with which Gustavus Adolphus endowed it in 1624 from his private estates, amounting to 360 farms.. There are about sixty professors, and a large number of assistants, lecturers and docents. The number of students is from 1500 to 2000, but it fluctuates considerably; the average in 1886–90 was 1825. Every student must belong to a “nation” (landskap), of which there are thirteen, each comprising mainly students from a particular part of the country. Each nation has generally its own club-house and fund. There are also societies for special branches of study, athletics and music, especially singing, for which the students have a deservedly high reputation. A cap of white velvet with a black border is worn by the students.

The cathedral stands nobly above the town; its tall western towers with their modern copper-sheathed spires are visible for many miles. It is of simple form, consisting of a nave with aisles and flanking chapels, short transepts, and choir with ambulatory and chapels and an apsidal eastern end. It is French in style (the first architect was a Frenchman, Étienne de Bonneuil) modified by the use of brick as building material. Ornamentation is thus slight except at the southern portal. The church was building from 1287 to 1435. It suffered from several fires, and a thorough restoration was completed in 1893. The easternmost chapel is the line mausoleum of Gustavus Vasa. The castle was founded in 1548 by Gustavus I. but was not finished till a century later, when it was often used as a royal residence. It was destroyed by fire in 1702, and is still in part ruined, but part is used as the offices of the government of the län and the residence of the governor. Apart from the cathedral and a few insignificant buildings, there are no other medieval remains. Among institutions may be mentioned the Ultuna Agricultural Institute, immediately south of the city. The industries are unimportant.

The name of Upsala originally belonged to a place still called Old Upsala nearly 2 m. N. of the present city. This Upsala, mentioned as early as the 9th century, was famous throughout Scandinavia for its splendid heathen temple, which, gleaning with gold, made it the centre of the country, then divided into a great number of small kingdoms. Three huge grave mounds or barrows remain here. In the same place the first cathedral of the bishops of Upsala was also erected (c. 1100). On the destruction of this building by fire, the inconvenient situation caused the removal in 1273 of the archiepiscopal see to the present city, then called Ostra Aros,[1] but within a short time it came to be generally called Upsala. During the middle ages the cathedral and the see of the archbishop made Upsala a kind of ecclesiastical capital. Here the kings were crowned, after their election had taken place at the Mora Stones, 10 m. S.E. of Upsala. In 1567 Eric XIV. murdered in the castle five of the most eminent men of the kingdom, three of them belonging to the family of Sture. In 1593 was held the great synod which marks the final victory of Protestantism in Sweden; in the same year the university was restored by Charles IX. In the castle, Christina, daughter of Gustavus Adolphus, resigned her crown to Charles X. in 1654. In 1702 nearly the whole city, with the castle and the cathedral, was burnt down. Among the teachers of the university who have carried its name beyond the boundaries of their own country the following (besides Linnaeus) deserve to be mentioned: Olof Rudbeck the elder, the author of the Atlantica (1630–1702); Torbern Bergman (1735–1784), the celebrated chemist; and Erik Gustaf Geijer (1783–1847), the historian.

  1. The name first occurs in Snorro Sturluson in connection with events of the year 1018; it signifies “the mouth of the eastern river.”