Riding to Røros | Posted: 23 September 2015
Rorosmartnan, Roros

In 1853, the King of Norway issued a royal decree stating that “from 1854 onwards, a yearly market shall be held in Røros, commencing the second-to-last Tuesday in the month of February, and lasting until the following Friday.”

Not needing to be asked twice, merchants from across Norway and neighbouring Sweden harnessed their sleighs and set out through the wilderness, crossing ice-bound lakes and gliding along frozen rivers in order to trade in Røros. Each brought products that were unique to their regions to barter and trade with people from other settlements, regions and countries.

Over 160 years later, the Rørosmartnan Winter Fair attracts over 75,000 visitors to this UNESCO World Heritage town over the course of the five days.

During this time, the quiet streets of the atmospheric old town are transformed into a bustling market with colourful stalls selling delicious food and drink, artisan handicrafts, clothing and jewellery from the Nordic countries – and even olives from Italy!

Huge crowds gather to watch the opening ceremony, when scores of horse-drawn sleighs pour in from the neighbouring districts, evoking tales of those hardy traders who had doggedly crossed the mountains to get here all those years ago. With many dressed in traditional costume, it’s like stepping back in time as the townspeople and their neighbours congregate in the narrow streets and courtyards – to trade, catch up with old friends, share stories, eat together, play music and dance.

Visitors are encouraged to try the tasty local food on offer; to see how traditional crafts were carried out and artefacts made; to enjoy concerts of ethnic Sami music; or even to go for a sleigh-ride into the winter wonderland that surrounds the town. Step back in time...

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