Kongsberg

Not to be confused with Kaliningrad, formerly known as Königsberg.
Numedalslågen River, Kongsberg.

Kongsberg is a town in Buskerud. It is an old mining community that developed around the rich silver mines from the 1600s. Today the town is a high-tech centre in Norway and the mines are now only a great sight for visitors. Kongsberg is the gate to the great Numedal valley. There is also a nice winter sport resort in the hills of Kongsberg.

Understand

Kongsberg was founded in 1624, after silver was discovered in the hills. The Danish-Norwegian king recruited German miners to the mines. As result, Kongsberg in the 17th century was a "German" town. It was the second largest in Norway only rivaled by Bergen. Mining ceased in 1957. The name "Kongsberg" means something like "King's mounta" or "King's mining hills".

Kongsberg today is a centre for high-tech industry. Kongsberg also hosts the Norwegian mint, and all Norwegian coins since 1686 are produced in Kongsberg. Kongsberg was from its foundation a key town in Norway, thanks to the rich silver sources in the hills. Today it's merely a small town, but its rich past is seen, for instance, in Konsberg church, still Norway's largest church by number of seats. Kongsberg and Røros Churches are the two monumental churches of the 1700s.

Silver mines

See also: Mining tourism

Unlike most other Norwegian towns, Kongsberg is not a port but resides in the valley next to the mines. The silver mines is a web of some 1000 km of tunnels, and 300 shafts, dug out during more than 300 years of production, and is a key historical monument. The mines cover an area of 30 square km, which also includes about 80 dams supplying water to the facilities. Unlike most mines, in the Kongsberg mines large chunks of pure silver were often found deep in the hard rock. More than 1 million kilograms of pure silver were extracted from these hills. The deepest shafts went 1000 meters underground. At its peak, the mines employed some 4000 people and were Norway's largest enterprise before the industrial era. A small train brings visitors a few kilometers into the mines (May 18 to August 31).

Røros and Kongsberg were the only towns in Norway that enjoyed the special bergstad (mining town) privileges.

Get in

By plane

Oslo Airport Gardermoen (IATA: OSL) Driving distance to Gardermoen: about two hours.

Sandefjord Airport Torp (IATA: TRF)

By rail

Trains between Oslo and Kristiansand passes Kongsberg. There is 23 trains a day between Oslo and Kongsberg.

By bus

"Timekspressen" Bus between Oslo and Notodden passes Kongsberg, every hour, every day.

By car

Kongsberg is situated on the E134 highway. Driving distance from Oslo is about 1 hour and 15 minutes. E134 continues in westward to Notodden, and over the mountain towards Haugesund. Or Northern going road 40 towards Geilo and then after 5 kilometres to Rjukan westwards on road 37.

Get around

Kongsberg is a compact town. So it is possible to walk. Kongsberg also have many cycling paths.

See

Entrance to the Silver Mines.
Kongsberg church: Pulpit-altar with organ above

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, December 27, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.