Saturday, 17 July 2010
What to see: Adolf Fredrik’s Church, Stockholm
Situated between the major streets Drottninggatan and Sveavägen, Adolf Fredrik’s Church is located in the very middle of Stockholm City. Replacing St Olof’s Chapel from 1674, this church was built in 1768-1783 by Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz, one of the most prominent architects in the history of Sweden.
The church was named for the monarch who laid the foundation stone, King Adolf Fredrik – a rather insignificant figure who was the first monarch of the Holstein-Gottorp dynasty, but who has been entirely eclipsed by his brilliant wife, Queen Lovisa Ulrika, and by his eldest son, King Gustaf III.
Several famous persons have been buried in the cemetery. Perhaps the most famous are Prime Minister Olof Palme (sixth photo), who was assassinated just across the street from the church in 1986, and the great philosopher René Descartes (seventh photo), who died in Stockholm in 1650 while tutoring the young Queen Christina.
Descartes’ remains were repatriated to France in 1666, but Gustaf III had a memorial to him erected inside the church (seventh photo). Both the Descartes memorial and the altar sculpture are by the famous sculptor Johan Tobias Sergel, himself buried in the cemetery. The former shows a young genius holding a torch while lifting the cloak which has covered the earth in darkness.
The vault’s frescos are of a more recent date; they were done by Julius Kronberg in 1899-1900.