Røros is a characteristic example of this type of technological and industrial development, as well as being an outstanding survivor of a traditional kind of human settlement built by traditional methods of construction. Also, it has vulnerable under the impact of economic change since the cessation of copper mining after 333 years of continuous activity. Lastly, Røros embodies a strong degree of rarity because of its location. It was built as an industrial community in the mountains (650 m above sea level) at a very northern latitude subject to extremely long winters and low temperatures (-50 °C).
Within the framework of Norway's inventory of cultural property, Røros ranks in importance with Bryggen and the stave church at Urnes. Røros is an extensive mining settlement dating from 1644, when the development of the copper works began. Its physical history has continued without interruption since the town was burned in 1679.
Thus the numerous surviving buildings represent the Norwegian tradition of construction that flourished in the 18th and 19th centuries. The buildings reflect the dual occupations of the inhabitants - mining and farming - the domestic groups being arranged as compact farmyards. These groups are disposed on a regular urban pattern adapted to the mountain terrain, reflecting the particular kind of industrial planning introduced by the Danish kings of Norway in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Røros is in a remarkably complete state of preservation. An engraving of the town as seen from the slag heaps in the 1860s is virtually the same as a photograph of the 1970s taken from the same viewpoint.
Preservation efforts date from the early years of the 20th century. The first legal protection of buildings in Røros was effected in 1923. Legal protection now extends to 80 buildings. In 1936 land was purchased for the development of an open-air museum, and the first old building was moved to the site in 1947. However, the museum impetus was overtaken by a movement, dating from 1938, that led to the preparation of plans for the preservation of the town and copper works in situ .
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