Avesta is the place where the European Bison meets the Dala horse. With a population of around 16.000, the area has a long and prosperous history. With industrialization in the centre of Avesta’s development, a lot is connected with the copperworks and ironworks of the past and present.
A Short History
It was next to the rapids of the river Dalälven that the construction of the copperworks began in 1636. Before the construction, Avesta had been nothing more than a single cabin. The copperworks became one of the largest in Europe and produced a majority of all Swedish copper coins for almost 200 years between the years 1644 and 1831.
Avesta recieved town previliges already in 1641, but it couldn’t keep up with the competition and lost them already in 1688. The small town had at the time around 800 inhabitants. The copperworks was the center of Avesta until the great fire of 1832, the fire devastated large part of the locality and also the plant.
The construction of an ironworks began in 1874 and the population in the area started to increase. At the turn of the century, the town had reached around 3.700 inhabitants. Industrialization led to a more diverse manufacturing landscape than before. Avesta once more received its town privileges in 1919 and remained a town until the municipality reforms of 1971.
Things to Do and See
Industrial history might be in the center of the attractions in Avesta, but this is after all the place where the Dala horse meets the European bison.
Verket is what the old ironworks are known as here. These days the buildings house exhibitions, both of art and local history. Avesta Art is one of these exhibitions with international art on display. These buildings are all within the historical industrial environment.
Avesta Myntmuseum, or the coin museum, is where you can learn about Swedish coin history from the Viking Ages onwards. It is here that you can find out how much the world’s largest coin weights, we will only tell you that it dates back to the 17th century.
Avesta Bison Park
Avesta Bison Park has played an important role in saving the European bison. In 1923 there were a total of 54 animals, all in different zoos. Of these, ten lived at Skansen Zoo in Stockholm. However, there wasn’t enough space for these large animals in the capital. As a result, they had to move. This turned out to be the start of the successful breeding of the animals in Avesta, which became the world’s largest bison breeding station in 1965.
The park is today open to visitors and offers a rare possibility to see the European bison in Sweden.
You can find out more about Avesta Bison Park here >>
Gamla Byn is the old village. This is the oldest neighbourhood of Avesta and it is within walking distance of the more modern center and the old ironworks. Even though people still live here, the area feels like an open-air museum. You will encounter historical buildings, some of which date back to as far as the 1630’s.
World’s Largest Dala Horse
In Avesta you have the chance to visit the world’s largest Dala horse. It stands at the intersection of roads 68 and 70 and measures an impressive 13 meters. A Dala horse is a traditionally carved and painted wooden horse which has become a symbol for both Sweden and the province of Dalarna. There are several different styles depending on where it comes from. However, the one in Avesta is in the more common colour of red. They usually weigh a few hundred grams, which can be compared to the 66.7 tonnes of this one.
The Dead Falls / Döda fallen
The river Dalälven broke new grounds about 7.000 years ago and the old river bed was drained. Because of this the old waterfalls ceased to exist, but they are today known as the Big Hell, the Small Hell, and the Southern Hell. The nature is today open to visitors to enjoy.
How to get to Avesta
Flights: The closest airport is Dala Airport (BLE) and it is 54 kilometers away. It connects the area with the Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (ARN) for connections around the globe.
Car: Avesta is located along major two roads. Road 68 between Norberg and Sandviken and road 70 between Hedemora and Sala.
Train: Avesta Krylbo station has train connections with Falun, Gävle, Mora, Stockholm and a few more places.
Bus: Regional buses connects Avesta with the surrounding region.
The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
Stockholm – 158 kilometers (1 h 51 min) Gothenburg – 416 kilometers (5 h 6 min) Malmö – 637 kilometers (7 h 2 min) Linköping – 259 kilometers (3 h 12 min) Kiruna – 1158 kilometers (13 h 6 min)
Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden