The Uppsala area is very flat except for Uppsalaåsen – an esker which stretches across Uppland in a north-south direction. Uppsala Castle is strategically located at the top of the esker. Due to the flat terrain Uppsala's silhouette with the characteristic Castle and Cathedral towers can be seen from a great distance. In order to preserve this skyline the most other buildings in Uppsala are quite low.
In 1643 Uppsala adopted its first city plan, and got the grid-lock street pattern it still has today. The city limits where set to Kungsgatan, Strandbodgatan, Kyrkogårdsgatan and Skolgatan, and didn't expand past these limits until the latter part of the 19th century. Uppala's city centre still fairly accurately coincides with this city square.
Most Swedish children recognize Uppsala as the city of "Pelle Svanslös" (Peter-No-Tail), a tail-less cat whose life and adventures in Uppsala are described in a series of children’s books by author Gösta Knutsson. Cinema lovers will recognize the area surrounding S:t Erik's square from the movie "Fanny & Alexander" by Uppsala native Ingmar Bergman.
While Uppsala sometimes stands in the shade of Stockholm, and many of the inhabitants are students from other parts of Sweden, the city maintains a sophisticated identity.