Great Copper Mountain (Stora Kopparberget)

Great Copper Mountain



Location: Falun, Dalarna province  Map


Description of Great Copper Mountain

Great Copper Mountain in Falun region of Sweden is a historic abandoned complex that was used for extraction of copper. Today Great Copper Mountain is a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its historical importance. Great Copper Mountain started yielding its copper deposits as early as the 9th century AD. The extraction continued until 1992 funding many of the wars that Sweden fought in Europe. Some historians estimated that at times Great Copper Mountain provided up to two thirds of all copper produced in Europe. City of Falun that grew around the Great Pit as its was known still has many of the original 17th and 18th century houses that were constructed during boom years of copper extraction.


The operating organization is known through King Magnus Eriksson's 17 February 1347 issued letters of privilege and a mining order, dated 19 February 1360. The mountain was owned after 1395 entirely by the king as regale and the miners paid for the ore that was mined. At the beginning of the 16th century, there were about a hundred workers by the mountain, many of whom had ended up there through mountain peace (the right of asylum) such as convicts, vagrants and prisoners of war.

The late medieval copper production at the mine is estimated at around 500–600 ship pounds of raw copper per year around the year 1360 and reliable information from customs accounts is available of around 2,300 ship pounds in the 1490s. The mountain's administration was governed by a mountain bailiff and a council of fourteen miners. Within the council, two councilors were appointed who acted as judges and miners respectively. The oldest known mountain bailiff was Gereka Skiptare, who is mentioned in 1351. During the Middle Ages, mining was handled by the miners' miners and day laborers.