One of the Most Important Creations of Modern Architecture

July 2, 2013 4 Comments »

Skogskyrkogården

Seven Springs Way. At 888 metres, it is intended as a path for mourners to follow when attending a funeral service at the Chapel of Resurrection.

When Skogskyrkogården was created at the beginning of the 1900s, it was unique and unlike anything ever seen before. Today, it is considered one of the most important creations of modern architecture.

Skyscraper? Bridge? Memorial? School? Monument? Church?

No….a cemetery.

As soon as I heard that a cemetery was one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Stockholm – I had to go visit. Really – a cemetery as a UNESCO World Heritage site – what in the world could make it so special?

Granted it didn’t have to be a World Heritage site to make me go visit – being a cemetery was enough for me as I have a little thing for cemeteries. But it already had one other thing going for it – it was free. I arrived in Stockholm trying to be budget conscience once again as Stockholm was even more expensive then Copenhagen. Normally I would go wander a cemetery just because – but I was intrigued by why Skogskyrkogården (also called Woodland Cemetery) was listed as a tourist site as well as one of the most important creations of modern architecture.

As soon as I walked in the cemetery and past the Meditation Grove I realized right away why this cemetery was so special. The gravesites were situated among a forest of tall evergreens – a beautiful way to highlight life, death, and nature. It really was a different design then I’ve ever seen before. I felt as though I was hiking through a forest and had come across a cemetery – it was harmonious. This was the exact goal of Skogskyrkogården when it was created in the early 1900’s – to blend nature and architecture into a seamless whole.

Even the pathways were designed with a purpose in mind – to create the correct mourning mood as a processional walked to the chapels. The dense forest of trees lined the pathways providing a tunnel effect. The chapels were in use while I was there – but I was able to go view some of them, each designed a bit differently.

The Woodland cemetery was huge and a beautiful place – I actually spent 2 hours walking around it going into chapels in the woods, sitting on benches, looking at sculptures, and taking a lot of photos. It was a somber way to experience nature and contemplate life.

Skogskyrkogården  cemetery stockholm

At Skogskyrkogården, the natural surroundings – and not the graves – are the centrepiece.

Skogskyrkogården cemetery

Gravestones are secondary to the trees around them.

Granite Cross

The granite cross was designed by Asplund in 1939 and financed by an anonymous donor. It is not intended o represent a symbol of faith, but rather a symbol of the circle of life and death.

 

Gravesight among trees

Trees tower over the gravesights.

The Chapel of Resurrection

The Chapel of Resurrection was designed by Sigurd Lewerentz and completed in 1925.

Skogskyrkogården  photos

Gravesights under the trees

Bibles

Psalm Books in the Chapel of Resurrection.

Skogskyrkogården

Gravesights at the UNESCO World Heritage Sight

Meditation Grove

Almhöjden. The meditation grove is accessed via a long stairway, its steps gradually lowering in height to ease the climb.

Gravestone

Weathered gravestone.

Woodlands Cemetery stockholm

Towering trees

 

More Info:

Website: www..skogskyrkogarden.se/en/index.php
Directions: Take the green metro line towards Farsta Strand, get off at the Skogskyrkogården station.
What to see: Downloadable Map 
Visitor Center hours: The Visitors Center is open daily May 27 – August 26 11 am – 4 pm. Open Sundays in September 11 am – 4 pm


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