Province: Kopparbergs Ian. Region: Dalarna. Altitude: 113m.- Population: 49,150.
Postal code: S-791 Telephone code: 023.
Svardsjo Turistbyri (June-Aug.), Borgardetsvag 44, S-79023 Svardsjo; tel. (0246) 1 07 10.
EVENTS. Swedish Ski Games (February).
The old mining town of Falun, chief town ofthe province of Kopparberg, lies NW of Stockholm in Dalarna (central Sweden). It is situated on both banks of the River Falun between Lake Varpa and Lake Runn.
Although Falun’s deposits of copper, discovered before the year 1000, have been of immense economic and financial importance to Sweden, the town received its municipal charter only in 1641, when its great days were nearing their end, though it was still the second largest town in Sweden.
SIGHTS. In the middle of the town old and new buildings rub shoulders with one another. In the main square, Stora Torg, which has a monument to Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson, leader of the 15th c. peasant rising, are the Old Town Hall (1764), the new Local Government Offices (1968), the Kristine Church (1642-55; tower, 1865; fine interior) and the headquarters of the mining corporation, the Stora Kopparbergs Bergslags AB. Here, too, is the house in which Selma Lagerlof lived while writing The Wonderful Journey of Nils Holgersson and other works. To the W, on the far side of the river, are the Dalarna Museum and Art Gallery (local costumes, painting, crafts, etc.). Beside the Northern Station is the Kopparberg Church (14th c.), the oldest building in Falun.
Opencast copper workings, Falun In the districts of Ostanfors, Gamla HerrgSrden and Elsborg there are numbers of old wooden houses dating from the 17th19th c. On the E side of the town is the Skiing Stadium (1973), with ski-jumping towers up to 52 m (170 ft) high (lift; fine views). Nearby is a large Sports Hall (90 by 45-5 m 295 by 150 ft).
The town is bounded on the SW by the Falu Coppermine (Falu Gruva), which is reached by way of Gruvgata. The opencast workings cover an area of 400 by 350 m (430 by 380 yds) and are up to 95 m (310 ft) deep; and below this underground workings extend to a depth of 450 m (1475 ft). In the mid-17th c. the mine produced some 3000 tons of crude copper, representing about two-thirds of world output; its total output to date amounts to some 500,000 tons. The collapse of underground galleries in 1687,
1833 and 1876 led to the decline of this treasurehouse of the realm and to the development of the present opencast workings, the Stora Stoten, which yield mainly iron pyrites, zinc and lead (annual output of ore some 150,000 tons). The mine belongs to the Stora Kopparbergs Bergslags AB, probably the oldest industrial company in the world (its predecessor being referred to in an episcopal letter of 1 288 and a royal charter of 1 347). The Stora Kopparberg became a limited company (AB) in 1888, and is now one of Sweden’s largest industrial corporations, its main interests being in metals and woodworking. Conducted tours ofthe mine daily from May to the end of August. Close to the workings is the Stora Kopparbergs Museum, housed in the old mine offices (1771-85), with models of the mines, minerals and a collection of copper coins.
SURROUNDINGS. 14 km (9 miles) NE of Falun, on the S side of Lake Tofta (alt. 119m- 390 ft), is Sundborn. The Swedish painter Carl Larsson (1853-1919: The House in the Sun, a series of watercolours) lived here from 1901 until his death. His grave is near the red chapel (1755), which contains pictures by him (as does the commune office). Larsson’s house, preserved as it was in his lifetime, is now a museum (conducted visits: waiting may be necessary at height of season). From Sundborn an excursion can be made to the beautiful Svardsjd, at the E end of Lake Tofta.