Old Uppsala is home to around three hundred Viking burial mounds, including three massive mounds dedicated to three sixth century Viking kings. The town of Uppsala lies only a few kilometers away from the majestic sight of hundreds of historical burial mounds including the three massive mounds for the kings. Old Uppsala is an important site because it was once a massive settlement of religious and commercial importance to the Vikings.
It was believed that Odin himself once dwelled in the place where Old Uppsala lies now. It was for this reason that this town was so large and that so many were buried nearby, including the three massive Royal Mounds which would become part of Sweden’s national identity. The mounds were created through the Norse belief that in order to pass onto Valhalla, a warrior had to be cremated with all of his goods and in full armor.
The ashes were then covered in cobblestones, gravel, sand and finally a layer of turf. The Royal Mounds in particular were built to be prominent-they were placed atop a ridge and built high in order to catch the eye of all who worked and traveled around Old Uppsala. However, thousands of mounds once dotted the countryside, though now only a couple hundred remain.
The three Royal Mounds were built fifteen hundred years ago and some believe oriented the same way as every other burial mound in order to keep track of solstices for rituals. The mounds were probably built by family members and warriors of the Royals who were buried and were built in order to maximize the buried warrior’s chances of reaching Valhalla with everything that was important to him intact. These mounds are still standing today and indeed have become an important aspect of Sweden’s tourism and history.