Living History at Røros

Røros World Heritage Site – The Church

20160531_134549

Røros Church in Norway – its reputation preceded it and my only chance to visit was offered to me when I was in Trondheim, Norway. Of course, I leapt at the chance. Walking through a living World Heritage Site, is not something one gets to do every day. Built during Norway’s golden age of copper mining, the church in Røros dates back to 1780 and is nestled amongst classical Norwegian village architecture.

Walking around the town’s old Wooden houses

Initially the church was closed and locked when I arrived, but my intrepid Norwegian friend was not to be deterred and energetically sought out a nearby caretaker who lived in one of the neighbouring wooden homes, who was then kind enough to open the church and give the “Australian,’ a short tour.

This was greatly appreciated.

The guide told us the church has been extensively renovated and restored in recent years, as it frequently plays host to popular concert series and services, often attended by the Norwegian Royals.  Isn’t it stunning?

Roros Norway
Some photos from my walk around the old mine site

Røros is a town high up in Eastern Norway, not far from the Swedish border. Dotted with historic wooden houses and the large copper mine turned museum, the copper mine flourished from 1644 right up until 1977.

bucket mine Norway

The mine is now a museum and the town’s Instagram-worthy architecture has been reincarnated as home to a range of craft artisans, gourmet food purveyors selling their local products, such as cheese and flatbread, in Instagram- worthy shops, as well as boutique objects popular with tourists. The walk along the main street is a delight.

The working life of the town’s citizens in the past was never easy, being as it was, a mining frontier town set high in the mountains on the border of Sweden. Conditions in the mines were neither comfortable nor healthy, it seems and the citizens a resilient lot, coping with difficult work and the threat of marauding Swedes over the border. You can re-live a little more of their history and life in the extensive displays at the museum, located at the mine’s site.

[Note: Signs were in English.]

roros mine
Walking inside the copper mine

Contrastingly, modern day Røros is peaceful quiet and colourful. The old wooden houses are beautifully maintained and the town continues to be a World Heritage Site in which people actually work and live out their daily lives.

Every February, the town hosts an annual Winter festival. I imagine there would be quite a different colour on the ground this time of year than when I completed my walk in early Summer.

Roros

Røros is also a place that tries to re-invented itself from its mining past by being sustainable and enjoyable for visitors. They try to preserve local nature, culture and environment, and tourists love it. I wrote more on a prior post about the history of Røros and its Mining Museum.

Something other regional towns might ponder about.

Linking to Jo’s Monday Walks

Advertisements

Røros – A Walk back in ‘Mine’

Røros

 

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.

aursund
Lake Aursund

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.

Norway sweden
Forbidding high country on the Norwegian Swedish border

 

History

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.

Museum

Røros Copper Mine
Smelting house

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.

 

Artists Mecca

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