Røros in East Norway is rich in old mining culture and industry. The place covers around 300 years of fascinating copper mining history, and it is unique in the world due to its abundance of extremely well preserved wooden houses. Today, it is one of the absolutely outstanding UNESCO World Heritage Sites and authentic places to visit in Norway.
Ainnelise Niyvold Liundbye UPDATED: 22 JUL 2020
Approaching Røros from the north, you will be driving along a beautiful sloping landscape in a mountainous region which will soon give you a feeling og being in the middle of nowhere. For a long time you will only see forest, hairpin roads and signposts which warn against wild animals. You may actually suddenly – and unexpectedly – spot a moose or a couple of reindeer!
Eventually, you arrive at Røros, the somewhat isolated town in East Norway – far from the most common tourist stretches of road along the West Coast. Although much less known than Bergen, Oslo and Trondheim, Røros does, though, have a lot to offer, especially if you are interested in old Norwegian culture and mining history.
Already in 1644 a copper ore was detected in the Røros mountains in East Norway. Just two years later the Danish-Norwegian King Christian IV gave permission to utilise the natural copper resources in the area, and the Røros Copper Works saw the light of day.
The privileges included copper mining within a Circumference of four old Norwegian miles, corresponding to a radius of 45 kilometres from the initial mine, Old Storwartz.
Røros mining town was now established by the waterfall of the Hitterelva River, location of the first furnace.
The surrounding land was not originally a fertile agricultural area, but a mountainous region covered with forest. The mining workers and inhabitants of Røros therefore also had to do farming as a second occupation to provide themselves with agricultural products, and having livestock became usual in the small mining town.
Røros Church was constructed in 1780-1784 as the town´s pride (known as the Ziir), today the fifth church by size in Norway. It was founded by the Røros Copper Works and designed by the Norwegian architect Peter Leonard Neumann from Trondheim.
The church has a light blue interior and decor. Inside the Church, you will notice the links to the Røros Copper industry: the logo of the Copper Works, paintings of the first manager, as well as of the manager in charge when the church was built.
Røros Church features both seats for the Royal family and for the Copper Work management. The church goers were in general seated according to rank. The most prominent people sat in the first row and the poor people stood in the upper galleries – accessed only by the exterior stairs. Today, the church is still in use, and it is a popular concert site!
At the time of inauguration, the church counted 1,600 seats! It now ranks as the fifth largest church in Norway!
The Røros Copper Works produced large amounts of copper. Between 1644 and 1977 it is estimated that around 100,000 tons of copper were produced here. The Røros Copper Works therefore ranked among Norway’s most significant mining activities.
It is absolutely unique that so much is preserved of the old mining town and that it today still has got so much authentic character. At this location in Norway you can visit both the Olav’s Mine, a mining museum, as well as climb the enormous waste heaps at the end of Slaggeveien. It has, not surprisingly, become a UNESCO World Heritage Site consisting of its historic houses, the Church and Copper Work buildings, smelters, charcoal pits, old cableways, as well as farming structures.
In 1678 and 1679 the town was set on fire by the Swedes, but since then many houses have been restored in their original style. This means that today a considerable number of houses from 1700s and 1800s still stand.
At the time of the thriving mining town, the forest around Røros was little by little removed. In its heyday the trees were gradually utilised as fuel for the ovens.
Anyway, you will today find other forests near Røros which are now home to reindeer, moose and other wildlife. The Røros region in Norway features a lot of great spots to visit and for hiking.
Check out the Vertshuset Røros in the heart of Røros:
Apartment hotel housed in a 1914 building centrally located and close to the Station and town museum. All rooms have private bathroom, private parking and free WiFi.
Check the price / book
Check out the Røros Hotell – Bad & Velvære:
All rooms at this hotel feature a seating area, minibar, free WiFi and modern décor. The hotel has a restaurant and a lobby bar and is located just a short walk away from the town centre.
Check the price / book
As an interesting fact Røros is one of Norway’s and the world’s coldest places with a temperature record as low as -50.4 degrees Celcius!
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‘Røros – Places to Visit Norway’