The place Engelsbergs bruk, or ironworks in English is a place situated in picturesque landscape in the middle of Sweden surrounded by lakes, woods and cute villages. The place started its work in 1681. At that time the work with iron was made by people living in the mountains. The place was modernized during 18:th century and was used until 1919. There is of course a large mansion and smaller houses for the workers.
We visited Engelsbers works last summer (2012). The place was open and you could book a guided tour of the works, so we id.The place was very beautiful and picturesque, but also depressive, especiially when you know that there is not much work for the people around here, especially not after the summers season.
We went around workers’ houses, washing room, the mill, looked att the smithy (but didn’t go in. We also looked at the mansion, but since it’s private owned we couldn’t go too close. I wonder how it feels to live in World Heritage site.
The place was full of red houses that belonged to the workers, a stable and some other simple buildings- Then there was the mansion, white, shining, magnificent. Two worlds, so close to each other. Even today the two worlds are separated, since you are not even allowed near the place of the nice people. Mixed feelings.
In the tour ticket there is also an option to visit the Oil Island. At the end of 19:th century the owner of the small island on the lake next to Engelsberg’s works, founded a refinery, one of the older in the world, at least the oldest preserved. He imported oil and refined it, producing different oil based products.
The refinery on the little island was closed in 1902 and today it is museum, telling a great story about innovative minds and great times. To make the visit even better we had a great fuide, an older lady who worked as chemistry teachear and could tell the story of the island, the refinery and the products in a very interesting way.
There is another place close to Stockholm, that is pretty much alike, except for the island. It’s called Wira works and it’s also old iron works, where weapons were made for the military in 17:th and 18:th century. It’s a great place, where you can walk and enjoy the old houses, old smithy and mill. Why is Engelsberg and not Wira a world heritage site? The tour of the both places is prettymuch allike. The similar history is hidden there,so why? And why, once you can put up a World Heritage flag some places think it’s enough and they don’t need to put so much more effort into it? I might write about Wira in another post, so you can see the similarities.
This place has been a world heritage site since 1993. Link to the site: Engelsberg Ironworks.
Sometimes places are not what they seem. The place was interesting, but not special. The Oil island is not part of world heritage site, but it still was part of the experience for us. If the Oil Island would be part of world heritage sie it would be three globes, now only two.
Happy New Year!