Røros or, maybe more accurately, Bergstaden Røros lies about 45km from the Swedish border, and although there is a mining museum there, it would possibly be more accurate to call the town a museum, at least the old part of it.
Copper mining started in Røros in 1646. Legend has it that, in 1644, a farmer called Hans Olsen Aasen shot a reindeer, and in it's death throws it kicked up a stone which shone in the sunlight. Two years later a mining operation had been set up to mine the copper ore, and a smelting works established beside the river Hyttelva.
Danish and German experts were brought in and the Røros area soon became an important copper mining community.
The old town, which consisted of two parallel streets, was planned in 1651 and quickly built to house the management and workers, and these buildings are still standing to this day. Not just as an exhibit, but as working buildings occupied by shops and families. This area of the town is one of the few mining towns in the world that have made it on to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Here's a few pictures from those streets.
Near the top of one of the streets, Kjerkgata, stands this impressive Church.
I did wonder why the church was stone built, rather than the normal wood construction, until I remembered that by the time it was built the whole area had been deforested to provide wood for the fires of the smelting plant.
From above the church I took this photo looking over towards the slag heaps which still remain, and are protected as part of the heritage site status.
Since the smelter was a wooden building it needless to say burned down a few times in its life, up until the smelting operation ceased in 1953. The smelting works was finally completely destroyed by fire in 1975, and 2 years later, in 1977, the copper works was declared bankrupt.
That could have been the end of the story, but in 1988 the current building, Smelthytta, was built on the site as a museum.
Here's the building.
And of course a souvenir shop where I bought this. A little copper ingot and a chunk of ore.
But all in all Røros is a fantastic town to visit and I would thoroughly recommend that any visitor to Norway, at any time of year, add it to their list of 'must see' places.
For more information, have a browse around this website
Next post will include Tynset, a town which falls so far short of Røros, that it is off the scale. ;)
Yun's aa fir enoo
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