This gallery is part of my journalistic project “Grängesberg Ghost Town”, which explores the history of a small Swedish town that changed forever when the iron mine closed in 1990. The description of the project reads: “Welcome to the town of Grängesberg, once the home of Bergslagen’s largest orefield and Sweden’s most lucrative company – today an echoing ghost town.” The Flickr album in its entirety can be found here.
This old giant is only one of many structures to have been left to the elements after fissures in the ground forced central Grängesberg to be moved in the 1970s.
The inside of the building is not in any better shape than its exterior.
This old staircase has certainly seen better days.
The basement was too dark to be photographed. This was as far as the camera got.
However, the destruction has also given birth to beautiful art…
…and even in darkness there is light.
Now nature is doing its best to take it all back.
In Sweden we have a beloved children’s tale called “Ronja Rövardotter” by author Astrid Lindgren. The fissures surrounding these ruins remind me of a chasm called “The Hell Gap” from that story.
This old electricity distribution central from the old mining era will probably fall into “The Hell Gap” before very long.
It is in very bad shape…
…and seems to be waiting to fall apart completely.
Walking inside it feels like a stupid death trap, and still entering is irresistible.
Here, as well, nature is making its claim on the old structures.
The markings of the fissures can be seen everywhere…
…and in many places only scraps remain where once was industrial glory.
The second floor has more the feel of an art gallery than a factory building.
In the surrounding woods many more forgotten buildings can be found.
Soon, however, only bricks will remain.
Once again we see how the hollow ground is taking its toll.
In the distance, past the quarry, some of the more fortunate mining buildings can be seen.
This beautiful place was once one of the richest industrial loci in Sweden.
Now not much remain but eerie memories.
This odd witch-tree grows on almost the exact spot where once a wooden church towered proudly. The church was moved to the town of Orsa at the same time as the entire Grängesberg town center was moved 500 yards to the east in the 70s. If the tree is a sign of something, I leave to the more superstitious to decide.
The street of Källfallet was built as worker dwellings 1896, but since the mine closed down 1990 they have stood empty. Squatters have occupied them in periods, but have always been driven out by the police.
Recently an organization was founded in order to save the old houses from being torn down, and each house has been granted the equivalent of approximately 100 000 USD for renovation…
…but the smell of mould on the air along the entire street, together with the state of the buildings, make me suspect that sum will be insufficient.
Some of the old structures have been preserved and still stand in good shape, however.
This old mansion like building is the culture- and concert hall of Grängesberg, named after the town’s past benefactor Ernest Cassel who brought the railroad here in the 1870s.
The Lomberg Wheel still stands as a reminder of how the mine got its power before electricity came to Grängesberg in 1893.
In the museum Mojsen’s Mining Centre, driven enthusiasts help people take a huge step back in history to the glory days of Grängesberg and its mining industry. It is really worth a visit if you’re ever in town.
Other than this, today’s Grängesberg is a very average small town.
It has a totally okay restaurant called Stopet, a go cart track and one of the Swedish brewery giant Spendrup’s factories.
An uninformed driver wouldn’t probably raise their eyebrows between the signs for ‘welcome’ and ‘welcome back’.
But in the forests around Grängesberg, the town’s iron weighed history still looms amongst the never forgetting trees.