Churches in the North

Venue: Uppsala, Kiruna and Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

Lens: Sigma 35 mm f/1.4 & Samsung S10 camera & Huawei P20 camera

Music: Michael Jackson – Earth song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAi3VTSdTxU)

Easter is soon approaching for the Christian people around the world, and nowadays this ancient holiday celebrating life and rebirth is probably more relevant than ever. So I’d like to wish everyone a very happy Easter with a few pictures from churches in the far north in Sweden taken two months ago (before the temporary shut down of international travel). To the many other people not celebrating Easter but still in the Northern hemisphere, I wish a good transition into spring, which is an even more universal symbol of rebirth.

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We start our tour of Swedish churches in the actual main cathedral of Lutheran church in Sweden, the Domkyrka in Uppsala. Unfortunately the imposing exterior was under construction so I can offer you this wide angle shot from the inside.
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The Uppsala cathedral is the traditional coronation site for the new kings of Sweden, as well the burial site of one of the most important kings in their history, Eric IX. The very realistic statue of an old woman you see on right always keeps an eye on the tomb.
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Just opposite to the big cathedral in Uppsala, there’s a smaller but very pretty church with beautifully decorated walls that is worth a stop.
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We are moving to the real North to Jukkasjärvi in the land of the Sami people. This is the entrance to the oldest building in the village, the wooden church built in the beginning of 17th century.
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The church was built by the Swedish people with the aim of colonizing the Sami people and converting them into the Christian religion. Everyone in the village was forced to attend church, and it seems the decoration inside and these paintings were specifically made to relate more closely to the traditional art of the locals. The difference with the traditional Lutheran decoration in Swedish churches is quite striking.
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On the way of the Sami church, a nice detail at the gate.
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Still in the far North, but in the bigger town in Kiruna. This is the bell tower next to the main church of Kiruna that you see on the top photo.
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Inside the Kiruna church, which is one of Sweden’s largest entirely wooden buildings and is a real landmark of the North. It is considered as “the Shrine of the Nomadic people.”
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A wider perspective of the large main hall of the Kiruna church. The whole town of Kiruna is slowly sinking so in a few years the whole population will actually move to another site, around ten kilometers away. The entire church building is planned to be uprooted and moved intact to a new location in the new town. I feat that would surely require some sort of engineering miracle that I’d like to see.
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I leave you with this last photo from a side corner of the Kiruna church and this beautiful collection of children’s handprints. It was the only decoration in this remarkable building, making it even more symbolic and memorable.

 

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