The people of Røros live and work in the same old wooden houses built 2-300 years ago

The former mining town of Røros in winter is one of those rare places that warmly welcomes you even though the town endures months of sub-zero temperatures under a thick blanket of snow. It must be the old wooden snow-capped houses. Some are deep red, orange or yellow, most of them dark brown or ink black. They exude charm and cosiness, inviting you to explore this fairy tale-like town built over centuries in challenging climatic conditions and by heavy labour in the copper mines in the ground below.


Røros (click to enlarge)

Situated 650 meters above sea level in the central part of mountainous Norway, the town of Røros is a vibrant community of about 3700 inhabitants. The people here live and work in the same old wooden houses built 2-300 years ago. Altogether there are some 2000 wooden buildings here, around 80 legally protected. The town is a popular tourist destination renowned for top quality arts and crafts products and food based on traditional local produce.

The Røros Mining Town was inscribed on the World Heritage list in 1980, extended in 2010 to include the Circumference.

The main street
The main street with a “Spark” kick sledge


A former mining town

The first traces of copper was found in 1644, marking the start of a unique 333-year long history of mining, providing livelihood for the people of Røros and bringing wealth to its private owners and to the State. A total of 110.000 tons of pure copper was produced before the mines closed for good in 1977.

Covered by white snow in winter, the deep black slag heaps on the slopes of Røros bear witness to the heavy work of mining. They form a hilly miniature landscape and a backdrop for the quaint old houses built entirely of wood in a traditional style.

The old slag heaps covered by snow
The old slag heaps covered by snow


Røros (Sleggveien road)
Røros (Sleggveien road)


All photos by Asgeir Pedersen, IN Editions
This article was first published 8 February 2015.