Gamla Uppsala sits in layers of time which have been marked, in the 2000 years since the land rose above water, by the burial of people.
It is said that under the church, which was once the Archbishopric of Sweden, lie the remains of the great temple of Uppsala and that Odin himself resided nearby far back in the mists of time.
In the second half of the Eleventh Century, Adam of Bremen told that every nine years in the temple of Uppsala a festival was celebrated when nine of every kind of male creature were sacrificed to old and dangerous gods.
Near the temple, in a large grove, stood a great tree with outspread branches which were green in both summer and winter. What sort of tree it was no-one knew but from its branches, and from the branches of other trees in the grove, bodies were hung to rot. Dogs and horses were seen to hang beside men. Seventy two corpses had been counted hanging together.
At Gamla Uppsala kings are buried under great mounds with treasure and fine things for company. And it was here, on such a burial mound that Pope John Paul Ⅱ chose to stand, elevated above his people, to perform a great open air mass in 1989.
In the church today a red carpet fills the floor leading to the alter and under it, under the floor and, perhaps, within the foundations of the ancient temple, is a tomb containing the remains of Anders Celsius, the temperature man, who died in 1744.