Engelsberg Ironworks

Fagersta, Sweden

Engelsberg Ironworks in Västmanland was constructed in 1681 and developed into one of the world's most modern ironworks in the period 1700-1800. The property comprises the mansion and park, works offices, workers' homes, and industrial buildings. Engelsberg is the only ironworks in Sweden that still preserves the buildings and most of the technical equipment. Engelsberg Ironworks was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1993.

Iron production at Engelsberg goes back to the Middle Ages, when mine-owning farmers achieved efficiency in the use of the natural riches of the Bergslagen area. It was in the 18th century, however, that Engelsberg could definitely be ranked among the most important ironworks in Sweden and Europe. The works, which was ultramodern for its time, extracted and worked iron. The ore came from the Bergslagen mines, while the charcoal, which was crucial for heating the material, came from nearby forests.

Engelsberg Ironworks eventually consisted of about fifty different buildings. Besides the log-insulated smelting house and the hammer forge there is also a weighing house where the charcoal and ore were weighed. In the day workers' building, or the "inn" as it was also called, those who worked by the day could buy spirits and find accommodation. In 1917 a Lancashire forge with a rolling mill was built. The property also comprises two works offices, the gardener's house, slagstone towers, the grain store, workers' housing, and the byre. Engelsberg Ironworks is largely preserved as it looked after the last rebuilding in 1870. Particularly unique features are the blast furnace and the forge where the waterwheel, crusher, blower, and hammer still work.

For most of the eighteenth century Engelsberg Ironworks was owned by the Söderhielm family and in the nineteenth century by the Timm family. The works was sold in 1916 to Consul General Axel Ax:son Johnson, who put it under the administration of Avesta Ironworks. Three years later operations ceased. Engelsberg Ironworks is now owned by Nordstjernan AB, who restored the property in the 1970s with the aid of the National Heritage Board. In summer Engelsberg Ironworks is open to the public.

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Details

Founded: 1681
Category: Industrial sites in Sweden
Historical period: Swedish Empire (Sweden)

Rating

4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Uncle Chris (3 years ago)
Engelberg Bruk is a UNESCO heritage site that used to be the location of Engelsberg Ironworks; a very successful steel factory in the 17th century. Today, it has been restored by its owners and is now one of Sweden 's most prestigious countryside retreat.
PLAT STEPHANE (3 years ago)
I went on the website, no information. I asked by email for the schedule of the guided tour, I'm still waiting. We went directly on site, there were no indication and the main attraction was under repair. avoid it until they change their practice
Tomáš Fialka (3 years ago)
Nice and interesting place. Highly recommend...
Vincenzo Calvo (3 years ago)
English indications are lacking. The photo shows the only advice that foreign tourists can find. Many buildings are private. The main building seem to be under restoration. What a pity!
Edvin Erikson (3 years ago)
Fantastic place to visit. For those that like historical industry's or just want to see something really massive, this is the place. Beatuiful areas and soroundings. On the summers you can go by railbus from Ängelsberg to Kärrgurvan every Sunday to see even more historical areas.
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The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

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Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.