National Geographic : 1963 Apr
Siljan has made his last one. Yet we hope that with care the present boats will last another hundred years." Dalarna rejoices in these festive midsum mer days, then returns to work in the factories and forests that have made this province a primary wellspring of Swedish wealth. At Falun, Gustaf and I peered into the pit -it would easily hold Yankee Stadium-that was the cradle of Swedish mining. The hollow shell of the Copper Mountain, resembling a giant bomb crater since a spec tacular 1687 cave-in, was the source of metal that in the mid-17th century gave Sweden first rank in world copper output. "The greatness of the realm stands and falls with the Copper Mountain," said Swe den's Queen Christina during a visit to the Falun mine in 1646. One Copper Coin Weighs 44 Pounds More than 600 years ago a Swedish king gave privileges to mine Falun copper to the Stora Kopparbergs Bergslags Aktiebolag (Big Copper Mountain and Mining Area Compa ny). Later the mine became an important source of silver, zinc, and lead. SKBA still owns it, as well as iron mines, steel mills, pulp and paper works, and power plants all over Dalarna and adjacent provinces. In the mine museum beside the Falun pit, I saw a copy cast in copper of the biggest metal coin ever made anywhere: It was the 24-inch-long, 1644 copper "X-Daler" (ten dollar) piece, and it weighed 44 pounds. When first issued, it would buy one horse and 70 kilograms of butter. Of 26,000 struck, only three such coins are known to survive. "I wish we owned one of them," Sven Ryd Carved Ships Sail an Ocean of Stone Near Norrkoping Relics of a Nordic culture that flourished some three thousand years ago, the vessels conjure up visions of exploration and sea faring adventure. Color added in modern times makes the carvings show up better. KODACHROMEBY THOMAS NEBBIA © N.G.S. Bastion of the Baltic, Kalmar Castle won renown as the key to Sweden because of its impregnability and strategic position. Be sieged 23 times but never taken, the 12th century fortress blocked invaders from the south. Once a royal residence, later a dis tillery, it is now a museum. Here in 1397 Queen Margaret of the Danes formed the Kalmar Union of Sweden, Denmark, and 472 Norway, which was dissolved in 1523.