Anatomical theatre

Gustavianum, which was completed in the 1620s, is Uppsala University's oldest surviving building. On its restoration in 1662-63, professor Olof Rudbeck constructed a cupola over the new anatomical theatre. Today this cupola rises above the centre of the building, lending it its characteristic profile. From a period of study abroad, he had brought home with him the idea of the pedagogical excellence of this amphitheatre-like stage for teaching.

Here dissections were performed that propelled medical knowledge forward, but only a small number of demonstrations were performed each year until 1766. The light through the cupola was the only lighting. It is clad in copper plating and crowned with a sundial in the shape of a small globe.

During the 1840s the entrance was given its current appearance. The anatomical theatre had by then played its part, and the interior was torn down to make way for a new zoological museum.

In 1935 Gustavianum was listed as a historic building. The idea of recreating the anatomical theatre started to take shape, and in 1950 the restoration work got under way. The cupola was repaired and the interior was rebuilt.

These days seminars and concerts are held in the anatomical theatre.


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