The mining town of Røros was inscribed on UNESCO´s World Heritage List in 1980. In 1644 copper ore was found in the Røros mountains and in the following year the first furnace was built near a waterfall in the Hitterelva river. Workers flooded to Røros from near and far, to work in the copper foundry.
For over 250 years Røros was among Norway´s most important mining towns. Between 1644 and 1977 over 100,000 tons of copper and 525,000 tons of sulphur pyrite were produced here. The landscape in the area was completely changed by mining activities.
This mining and farming town in the high mountains has retained much of its original character, with houses and farms from the 18th and 19th centuries. The street pattern and farming properties in the center of the town are the same as was originally constructed in the 1600´s. In the street pattern and arrangement of the buildings one can observe much of the development of Røros, one of the unique aspects of Røros as a cultural heritage site. A few years after the first furnace was opened, Røros first church was built. It was a small timber church, which after 130 years was too small and in so poor condition, that the construction of a new church was begun. It took four years to build the new stone church. The church was finished in 1784, with seating space for 1600 people.
The mines are located outside of the town center, but are planned to be included in the expansion of the area inscribed in the World Heritage List. Both at Nyberget (1650) and Olavsgruva mine (1936) it is possible to be guided downwards and inwards through the mountain. At Olavsgruva mine is the Bergmanns hall, which can be used for concerts and other occasions.
WASTE HEAPS (SLEGGHAUAN)
The heaps are a black hill near the furnace and are one of the most characteristic aspects of the town.
The Houses Behind the main buildings are the court yards, often surrounded by stables, storage buildings and separate open hearth buildings. Originally the buildings were not painted or paneled. They were one or two story houses with a single, double or triple floor plan.
From the middle of the 1700´s the buildings began to acquire the appearance associated with Røros houses today. A covered area over the entrance to the court yard and a separate kitchen building. Many court yards also had ample stable room for horses used in transportation.
THE FURNACE BUILDING
Since the mine was closed in 1977, the "Røros Museum" has managed the properties previously owned by the "Røros Kobberverk". The furnace which serves as the museums main building is a reconstruction of the furnace building from 1888 and is a modern museum which demonstrates the technology behind mining activities at Røros.
ONE OF THE COLDEST TOWNS
Not only do the enormous waste heaps provide evidence of the extensive activities under the surface, but also the entire forest over a large area around the town was removed over 25 years to produce fuel for the ovens. In addition, Røros is one of the world´s coldest towns, with a temperature record - 50,4 degrees Celsius.
WORLD HERITAGE LIST
The World Heritage List includes 812 properties forming part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value. These include 628 cultural, 160 natural and 24 mixed properties in 137 States Parties.