Join us, 67 metres underground.
The guided tour underground takes us through mine passages and large chambers and past deep shafts. You need to be careful where you step, make sure your helmet is worn correctly, and listen carefully to your guide: there are special rules that only apply below ground.
In the olden days, the miners believed in Gruvfrun, the “Lady of the Mine”, and that she watched over the mine; so the miners didn’t dare yell, swear or spit. Who knows, she may still put in an appearance down below. All shafts, mine tunnels and working chambers (see the short vocabulary) are, by tradition, given names. There are a total of 4,000 named locations in Falun Mine; some of locations are included in the guided mine tour.
Three exciting stops on the guided tour:
Dropporten (“the descent tunnel”) is the entrance to the mine. You are guided via Amalias Sänke (“Amalia’s slope”) down to the mighty Creutz Schakt (“Creutz shaft”). If a stone is dropped from the top, it is out of earshot by the time strikes the bottom of the 208-metre-deep shaft. Nonetheless, miners dared use the barrel suspended in the shaft as a lift/elevator; they perched on the rim and would jump off while the barrel was still in motion.
Allmänna Freden (“the general peace”, referring to the Treaty of Amiens) is a large chamber in the mine with walls serving as a guest book for visiting royalty. The first signatures to be written there, chiselled out and filled in with gold, were written back in the early 1800s. Part of Allmänna Freden is called Julklappen (“the Christmas gift”) – ore was found here one Christmastide – thus the name; and, to remind us today, an evergreen Christmas tree is ever-present in Julklappen down below.
After visiting Rålambs schakt (“Rålamb’s shaft”) from 1732, the tour continues through a mine tunnel with a name hardly typical of Dalarna province in Sweden: Osman Pascha. The tunnel was named after a late 19th-century Turkish army leader (see picture) which goes to show that Falun was definitely a player on the world stage.
English Mine Vocabulary
English – the Swedish word follows
shaft or mineshaft – schakt
A long, vertical or sloping, narrow passage down into the mine.
headframe – lave
A rig structure, sometimes roofed, at the surface, over the mineshaft opening.
chamber – sänke
A mine space, often sloping, below ground, formed by mine excavation.
mine tunnel – ort
A tunnelled-out passage in the mine.
fire-setting – tillmakning
Lighting a bonfire up against the workface would fracture the rock, making it easier to pry ore off the face with iron digging bars and chisels.