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?
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.
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