Tag Archives: Wira bruk

Making Swords for the Army at Wira


Some time ago I wrote a post about Engelsberg iron works, that is a world heritage site in the middle of Sweden. I mentioned another place in that post, namely Wira iron works, which I find as nice as the former one. So why is the former a world heritage site, but no the second one, nor the other places just like these two, that must also exist.


Green surroundings



Wira bruk or Wira iron works is a village and an historic iron works in Österåker, near Stockholm in Sweden. Wira bruk was founded around 1630. On the basis on a monopoly granted by a royal privilege it manufactured most of the rapiers and swords for the Swedish army into the mid 19th Century.

The royal privilege lasted until 1775, but the forge continued to supply weapons to the Swedish armed forces into the 19th Century and later manufactured civilian products, such as axes and scythes, into the mid-20th Century. Wira bruk is now a museum.


Inside the smithy


Inside the smithy

Sounds pretty much like Engelsberg, maybe even better, so why is only Engelsberg mentioned like special and unique? Is it because Wira is too close to Stockholm and someone wanted to spread the special places? I agree that today Engelsberg is better preserved, maybe due to the place being a wUNESCO World Heritage site. But back in the days life and work here were pretty similar.

The village looks pretty similar, they both have dark red houses where worker lived, both have a small museum, although the one at Wira is as interesting, both have an old smithy. The one at Wira is older and more destroyed by time, but you can visit it. Engelsberg have a mansion that is private and not possible to visit and Wira has iron workshop, where you can buy real iron stuf. From small hooks and can openers to larfe grills.


Mysterious grave inside the smithy


The water wheel

The both places are located by water and both places have water wheel. The mosquitos where larger at Engelsberg and we saw more frogs there, at least when we went there and Wira had more ducklings in the lake.  Wira have also Wira games at the end of each summer with dance, song and old music.

While being in Wira smithy we discovered an old, mysterious grave. Why is it here? Who was he? Why was he burried here and not, as others, by the church? Did he do anything wrong? It’s interesting, disturbing and I’ve been trying to find answers. Maybe one day I will find out.


Beautiful red smithy


In the village

I have no idea why the one is a world heritage, but not the other. I mean there is another site that contains over hundred old houses in another part of Sweden, several miles apart, so why not these?

I’ve been to Wira several times at least. It’s cute, picturesque and beautiful place. It’s perfect for a summer excursion with or without picnic and the museum is really interesting. Last time we were here we saw a family of duckling with mother duck and the previuos time we saw cows in the field behind Wira. So near city and in the nature.


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Engelsberg Ironworks and the Oil Island, how much are they worth today?


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.


Short information about this place


The washing cottage


Old iron in the washing cottage

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.


The old mill


Inside the mill

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 office of the supervisor


Cute bridge



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.


The smithery


The mansion

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 Oil island


Our guide on the island


Inside the old refinery

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. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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!


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