Sala is a town in the province of Västmanland and it is famous for its 16th-century silver mine. Its history has centered around the mine and even in modern times long after its closure, the mine is the main tourist attraction in the area. The town will in a few years celebrate its 400-year anniversary. Since its foundation, it has grown and today the population is around 13.600 inhabitants.
A Short History of Sala
Sala has a long history, even before the time of the silver mine. The area has many remains from the Viking Age and even further back in time. The main development of the time came with the silver mine that opened in the 16th century. With the mine, Sala developed into a town and received town privileges from King Gustav II Adolf in 1624. It was at this time that the town was moved away from the mine to its current location.
The silver mine was for centuries one of the main pillars of the Swedish economy. The royals inspected it and the mine produced large quantities of silver. Silver was important for the production of Swedish coins and the production at the mine was in the 16th century mostly be controlled by the state. At the time, the local miners had to cede the mine to the crown. The mine continued its production, with many ups and downs, until 1908. The last part of the mine closed in 1962. It is believed that only during the 16th century, the mine produced 450 metric tons of silver and 40.000 metric tons of lead. The depth of the mine has over the centuries increased to over 300 meters and has today a network of over 20 kilometers of tunnels.
In addition to the mine, Sala has seen further developments. The first railway arrived in Sala in 1873 when the town became connected with Uppsala and later as far as Mora in the other direction. Further lines were to Tillberga and Oxelösund were added and they are still actives. The railway between Sala and Gävle, via Gysinge, opened in 1901. The railway was active until 1964 when it was closed down due to low affordability.
Things to Do and See
Once you are done with the silver mine and want to explore more of Sala, then head to the center of town. Here you can find historical neighborhoods, restaurants, and other social activities.
Sala Silver Mine
The Sala silver mine is a bit to the east of the town and it is the main attraction that the area has to offer. After centuries of mining, the tunnels are endless and the depth is mind-boggling. There are today guided visits to parts of the mine and a museum about its history.
Stadsparken is the town park, a green oasis next to the center. It spreads out around the waterways of the stream Långforsen and it was established already in 1927. In addition to nature, there are a few historical landmarks here. For example, there is an old millstone that once was a part of Ekeby Mill.
The artist Ivan Aguéli, was born in Sala in 1869. He left Sweden at the end of the 19th century and lived first in France and later Egypt. In Cairo, he studied Arabic and Islamic philosophy. He struggled to return to Sweden and eventually died in Spain in 1917 where he died in a train accident near Barcelona. His paintings are today at the Swedish National Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Aguéli Museum in Sala. The museum in Sala has the largest known collection of his work. His original name was actually John Gustaf Agelii but he would come to have many names. He took the name Abd Al-Hadi Aqhili, and would also be known as Sheikh Abdul Hadi.
The town square is the center of the town and this is where you can find many of the restaurants and shops. This is also where the outdoor market takes place during specific days. The tourist information office is on one side of the square and on the other one is the shopping center Galleria Sala Torg.
How to Get to Sala
Flights: The closest airport is Stockholm Västerås Airport (VST), 42 kilometers away, which has mostly low-cost carriers. In addition, there is Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (ARN), 100 kilometers away with both domestic and international flights.
Car: Sala is at the junction between roads 56, 70, and 72, with Heby to the east, Västerås to the south, and Avesta to the north.
Bus: Local and regional buses from UL and VL connect Sala with the two regions of Uppsala County and Västmanland County.
Train: SJ and Upptåget have trains that connect Sala with cities such as Linköping, Mora, Stockholm, and Uppsala.
The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
Stockholm – 118 kilometers (1 h 23 min) Gothenburg – 424 kilometers (4 h 54 min) Malmö – 637 kilometers (6 h 34 min) Linköping – 226 kilometers (2 h 50 min) Kiruna – 1172 kilometers (13 h 22 min)
Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden