One of the most visited churches in Sweden, Lund Cathedral has been central to life in the city for more than 900 years. It’s a huge construction and perhaps the best example of Romanesque architecture in all of Scandinavia, with two tall towers stretching 55 metres above street level and tall stone arches decorating its façade.
Although religion is on the wane in Sweden, at least two services are held at Lund Cathedral every day, and in many ways it remains the city’s most important landmark. People gather on the modern plaza outside the building to chat, take pictures and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere, and one of the city’s main shopping streets runs adjacent the cathedral. If tourists arriving from Denmark or other parts of Sweden check out just one attraction in Lund, this cathedral is usually the one they choose.
Although the cathedral’s exterior is impressive, it’s worth taking a look around inside, too. The lofty nave is home to two bronze angels from the 13th Century, and just left of the main entrance you’ll find a magnificent astronomical clock, parts of which date back to the 1420s. It whirrs into life twice a day, with figures representing wise men trundling out from behind the scenes to worship the baby Jesus. The astronomical clock plays at noon and 3pm from Monday–Saturday, and at 1pm and 3pm on Sunday.
Lots of the cathedral’s oldest relics, like wooden crucifixes and 15th-Century bells, are not kept here but in the history museum a short walk northeast of the cathedral.
If it’s open when you arrive, try to get down inside the cathedral’s crypt. Accessed via a set of stairs just beside the altar, it’s a dark forest of stone columns where some of the key figures in Lund’s history were laid to rest. In 2015, the 336-year-old mummified body of Bishop Peder Winstrup, one of the founders of Lund University, was exhumed here. Scientists found that Winstrup’s face was still recognisable from portraits made when he was alive. And, just as mysteriously, they discovered that the body of a tiny baby had been hidden in his coffin.
On the far left-hand side of the crypt (as you descend the steps), look out for the large stone figure holding onto one of the columns. According to local legend, this is a giant by the name of Finn, who is said to have constructed the cathedral. When he wasn’t paid for his work he threatened to destroy the cathedral but was instead turned to stone and condemned to a life in the gloomy crypt. In reality, the figure holding the column is probably supposed to depict the biblical character Samson.
The area of parkland surrounding the church, Lundagård, is a great place to chill out in summer – there are tall trees providing shade and the short grass is carpeted with pretty daisies. Just across the plaza from the cathedral is the so-called ‘forum’ building – a modern visitor centre run by the Church of Sweden, with a Christian bookshop, toilet, café and information desk.
Mass, if you want to go, is on Sundays at 11am.
The cathedral is right in the centre of Lund, a five-minute walk east of the train station.
Lund Cathedral (Lunds Domkyrka)
+46 463 587 00
Mon–Fri 8am–6pm, Sat 9.30am–5pm, Sun 9.30am–6pm
Last updated: July 2015