Dalarne is Sweden’s folklore province, as famous for its scarlet Dala horses as its music and merrymaking at Midsummer. Winter attracts skiers challenged by championship events.
Dalarne represents all that is quintessentially Swedish. With its colorful costumes, centuries-old traditions of music and dance, Midsummer festivals and evocative rural landscape, its folklore and beauty attract an increasing number of visitors each year.
Dalarne is the third-largest tourist site in Sweden, after Stockholm and Guthenburg. The culture that gave us the red-painted Dalahäst (Dala horse) and inspired two of Sweden’s most beloved artists, Carl Larsson and Anders Zorn, can best be experienced in the twilight of fäbodar, the old pasture cottages nested in the hills, in the company of eldferly but amazingly energetic fiddlers.
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The word “Dalarna” means “the dales” (valleys). Its fishing lakes, campgrounds, and forests are popular destinations, and some Swedes own or rent a second home in Dalarna, where they are likely to have a vegetable garden and apple trees. Dalarna is a region full of historical associations, and both its products and its people have strong local characteristics. In the western district Lima, some people in villages speak a traditional dialect, Dalecarlian, while in Älvdalen, they speak Elfdalian, a dialect as Foreign as Norwegian or Danish. Historically, the people of Dalecarlia – called Dalecarlians, or Dalesmen (dalkarlar, masar) and Daleswomen (kullor) – have been famous for their independent nature toward authority. (Wikipedia)
The Old Norse form of the province name is Járnberaland, which means “the land of the iron carriers.”
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Mountains and lakes
The northern part of the province is dominated by mountains and the vast Orsa Finnmark area. The southern part of the province is part of the Bergslagen region, and consists mostly of plains, hills and forested areas. There are several copper mines in the southern part, most notorious of which being the Falun Mine. The highest point is Storvätteshågna, at 1,204 meters above sea level. The lowest point is in the southeast, at 55 meters above sea level.
Dalarna’s largest lake is lake Siljan, in the middle part of Dalarna. With 66.6 square kilometres (25.7 sq mi) of water and over 50 islands, the lake is a tourist destination.
Sweden’s Folklore Province, written by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top): © Visit Dalarne