Tuesday, December 12, 2006


The Woodland cemetery (Skogskyrkogården) is one of Sweden's places that's inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List. And no wonder, it's an absolutely stunningly beautiful and very special place situated just on the southern outskirts of Stockholm.

Well worth a visit all year around. And if you have the opportunity to go on a guided tour, please do, since it's the chance to see what lies behind the architectural greatness and also how the different chapels - there are five of them - looks like inside.

In the beginning of the 1900s it became obvious that Stockholm needed a new burial ground. An international architect competition was initiated to ensure the harmony and dignity of the buildings and landscape of that new cemetery. The winners of the competition was two talented Swedish architects, Erik Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerentz.

The cemetery and the first chapel was completed in 1920. The chapel was named the Woodland chapel and it's roof is adorned with Carl Milles ' sculpture "The Angel of death" (pic above) - this area and the chapel actually makes me feel really uncomfortable and somewhat unsafe. The atmosphere there is for some reason not at all pleasant...

The second chapel, the Chapel of resurrection (pic above) was opened in 1925. It's situated in the end of the beautiful, atmospheric Path of Seven Wells (pic above). A walk that basically takes you from one end of this larger than large cemetery to the other.

The largest chapel, and the one that's most wellknown I suppose - and in my opinion the least appealing -, is in fact three chapels (and a crematorium). They go by the names Chapel of Faith, of Hope and of the Holy cross.

The wall that surrounds the cemetery was built by unemployed people of Stockholm between the years of 1923 to 1932. It's 4600 metres long (compared to the Vatican state's wall that's 3200 metres long).

Greta Garbo, the world famous Swedish actress, is since a few years buried at Skogskyrkogården.

In 1994 - better late than never... - the Woodland cemetery was inscribed to the above mentioned list. Some of the motivation being "... an outstandingly successful example of a designed cultural landscape which blend... natural vegetation with architectural features to create a landscape that is ideally suited to its purpose... The creation... established a new form of cemetery that has exerted a profound influence... all over the world."

So if you happen to have an errand or two to Stockholm, please don't miss this extraordinary experience that goes by the name of Skogskyrkogården!

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