At latitude of 62 degrees North, in the Sør-Trondelag region of Norway, 620 – 675 metres above sea level, lies the copper mining town of Røros – a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must see for tourists.
The town, itself, comprises traditional Norwegian wooden buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries, that are still owned and occupied by businesses and residents today.
The smelting house “Smeltehytta,” (now the Røros Museum), forms the major part of the world heritage site, and is surrounded by black slag heaps.
Furthermore, it lies adjacent to the iconic, picture postcard, white-washed masonry church dating from 1784, that stands as a sentinel overlooking the town and countryside. (See more about the church in a later post)
The landscape surrounding Røros, is one of great scenic beauty – snow capped mountains, alpine flora, log cabins. This photo was taken in early summer and there was still ice in the lake, yet it was a gorgeous, warm summer day.
The largest lake, Aursund, which you will circumnavigate if you travel to Røros from Trondheim, (the nearest city) –a drive of about 2-3 hours, or 5-6 hours if you choose to travel by train.
Lying close to the Swedish border, military action between Norwegians and Swedish forces was a common historical event in Røros, culminating in the Swedish forces burning the town in 1678 and 79.
The Norwegians rebuilt and a revenge, of sorts, was exacted by nature, in the winter of 1718, when 3000 Swedish soldiers died attempting to cross the border, into Sweden, via the mountain range near Røros.
The first traces of copper, in the area, had been discovered at Rauhåmmåren, and by 1646, the first smelting shed had been constructed in Røros. The same copper-mining company, ‘Røros Kobberverk’, operated the copper-works for 333 years from 1644 until it went bankrupt in 1977.
Today, 300 years of mining history is depicted in the Rørosmuseet Smelthytta (Røros Museum Smelting House). It was awarded the Best New Museum in Europe in 1990 and consists primarily, of a large permanent exhibit with full scale 1:10 models showing each part of the copper mining and production process, as well as family and cultural life, in this frontier style town.
English language audiotapes are available. Tours of the mine are also available.
If visiting, allow, at least, a good hour at least to see all the museum has to offer.
The mine may have closed, but tourists has another reason to visit Røros. Not only will they experience the authentic flavour and atmosphere of a 17th century mining town, but the town has re-invented itself as an meccas for artists and of all kinds and specialist food.
More about the some of the unusual creatives of Røros in the next post. Til then, Røros’ long history is Something to Ponder About
Linking to Restless Jo’s Monday Walks