Lund Cathedral is the largest and most beautiful example of Romanesque style architecture in Scandinavia. It has been awarded three stars by the Michelin Guide and nominated as one of the seven wonders of Sweden by the national radio. Each year, the cathedral, which is open daily, is visited by over half a million people. Worship in Lund Cathedral has been taking place for more than 850 years.
After being elevated to Archbishopric of the Nordic countries in 1103, a church was built in Lund that would become today’s cathedral. Stonemasons from the Rhine district and Italy were called in and an architect by the name of Donatus was commissioned to create this mighty cathedral. The first archbishop, Ascer, inaugurated the alter in the crypt in 1123 and in 1145, his successor, Eskil, consecrated the high alter. Much of the cathedral was destroyed by fire in 1234, after which alterations were made to the nave vaults.
Traces remaining of stonemason Adam van Dürens
In the early 16th century, the Westfalia stonemason Adam van Düren was commissioned to carry out restoration work in the cathedral. His work appears in several places including the crypt. Here there is a four sided well curb carved by Master Adams in 1513-1514 and the sarcophagus of the last archbishop of Lund, Birger Gunnarssen, carved in 1512. In the crypt are also two mythical stone figures carved on respective columns. The tale of the cathedral builder, Finn the giant, and his wife Gerda is based on these statues. A more likely explanation is that the figure to the north represents Samson from the Bible.
Extensive renovations in the 19th century
During the 19th century, the cathedral underwent extensive renovation work, first by CG Brunius and then Helgo Zettervall. Amongst other work, today’s chancel steps were included and the ”lektorie” wall was demolished, which had previously divided the cathedral into two parts. Furthermore, the western section with its characteristic towers was created. The most recent renovation work, 1954-1963, under the leadership of Eiler Græbe.
A variety of medieval and contemporary art treasures
Included in the inventory are two bronze statues, the oldest dating from the mid-13th century. A large seven-branched candelabrum from the late 15th century, in the southern transept. Stunning carved oak choir stalls in the chancel dating from the mid-14th century and the altarpiece from 1398. Christ’s resurrection is the theme of the vestibule mosaic, made in the 1920ies by Joakim Skovgaard.
Horologium Mirabile Lundense
Among the most popular attractions is the cathedral astronomical clock, Horologium Mirabile Lundense, dating from approx. 1424. When the clock plays In dulci jubilo, the Three Wise Men move forward and pay homage to baby Jesus in Mary’s arms.