Vira Bruk, also known as Wira Bruk, is a small settlement in the historical province of Uppland. It is in Österåker Municipality, just to the northeast of the Swedish capital Stockholm. The village is the location of a former ironworks that was once the center of the production of swords and bayonets for the Swedish armed forces. It was at the time a part of Roslags-Kulle Parish and had a growing population with up to 40 workers at the ironworks. Since the closure of the ironworks, the population has declined a bit and Vira Bruk has today around 60 inhabitants. The former ironworks has, however, since then also been restored and it is today a tourist attraction showcasing the industrial past of the area.
A Short History of Vira
Sweden was in a dire need of weapons during the many wars of the 17th century and this need was the start of the ironworks at Vira. King Gustavus Adolphus gave in the 1620s the admiral Claes Fleming the task to establish the manufacturing of weapons such as swords and bayonets.
The first forge was established around the year 1630 next to the stream Viraån. This was the start of the ironworks that would manufacture most of the swords and bayonets used by the Swedish military until the mid-19th century. The production reached its peak during the Great Northern War at the beginning of the 18th century when production reached as high as around 12.000 swords annually. The iron ore mostly came from the mines in Dannemora to the north. In addition to military equipment, the ironworks also produced scythes and axes. It would be the latter that continued once the military deliveries were decommissioned in the mid-19th century. The production came to a halt in 1948. Thanks to restorations of the ironworks in the 1960s, this historical industrial site still exists today. It has since become a tourist site showcasing the industrial past of the area.
Things to Do and See
Vira Bruk is in itself the main sight of the area. This is the former ironworks with buildings dating back to the 18th century. But there is a lot of nature to explore in the area and also events during the summer to keep an eye on.
Wira Bruk is in many ways an open-air museum. The many historical buildings are still standing, with the possibility to explore the interior of a few of them. There is also an actual museum showcasing artifacts from the former production. The many buildings here include both the former manufacturing buildings, but also historical residential buildings. One of the oldest buildings is the former courthouse from around 1750. The courthouse is just one of several buildings dating back to the 18th century.
Wiraspelen is a part of the local traditions during the summer. It is a musical telling the story of two blacksmiths and has been played here since 1985.
Vira Bruk is the start or end of two different stages of the hiking trail Roslagsleden. Stage 5 connects Domarudden at the outskirt of Åkersberga with Vira Bruk. It has a length of 20.6 kilometers through mostly forested areas. Then there is also stage 6 from Vira Bruk to the village Penningby. This has a length of 22 kilometers, once more through mostly forested areas, but also cultural landscapes.
How to Get to Vira
Flights: The closest major airport is Stockholm-Arlanda Airport, 61 kilometers away with both domestic and international flights.
Car: Furusund is located along Road 276, between Norrtälje and Åkersberga.
Bus: Local and regional SL buses connect Vira with the surrounding region.
Train: There is no nearby train station.
The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
Stockholm – 54 kilometers (47 min) Gothenburg – 518 kilometers (5 h 43 min) Malmö – 662 kilometers (7 h 8 min) Linköping – 249 kilometers (2 h 45 min) Kiruna – 1244 kilometers (14 h 15 min)
Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden