Falu Kopparbergsgruva information
Falun's copper mine, Falu Kopparbergsgruva was the world's most important by the 17th century and drove many of Sweden's international aspirations during that period. Today it's on Unesco's World Heritage List and makes for a fascinating day out.
Tradition says that a goat called Kåre first drew attention to the copper reserves, when he rolled in the earth and pranced back to the village with red horns. The first historical mention is in a document from 1288, when the Bishop of Västerås bought shares in the company. As a by-product, the mine produced the red paint that became a characteristic of Swedish houses and Falu Red is still well-used today. The mine finally closed in 1992.
The mining complex, to the west of town at the top end of Gruvgatan, contains various sights. Most dramatic is the Stora Stöten (Great Pit), a vast hole caused by a major mine collapse in the 17th century. By a miracle, the miners were on holiday that day and no-one was harmed. There are lookouts around the crater edge, and numerous mine buildings including a 15m waterwheel and shaft-head machinery.