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269km (167 miles) W of Stockholm, 309km (192 miles) NE of Gothenburg

Let's admit it: Filipstad is an acquired taste, unless you get off on visiting ancient mining towns. Because thousands of foreign visitors come here, there's obvious interest, so we're including it. Many buffs of America's Civil War also visit Filipstad because of its associations as the hometown of inventor John Ericsson. Ericsson's brother was Baron Nils Ericsson, a noted construction engineer in Sweden who is known for having planned and built Sweden's first main railway. Another well-known Filipstad figure is poet Nils Ferlin, whose realistic statue sits on a park bench in the center of town.

The center for the Bergslag (mining) area of Värmland, Filipstad was founded in 1611. It's almost certain that iron ore was mined in this region even before the black death of the 14th century, and documentary evidence establishes it as being a thriving business in 1413. The main mine products were iron and manganese ore, but silver, copper, lead, and zinc ore were also found. Even gold occasionally has been unearthed. Today the Filipstad Bergslag smelting houses have vanished and only two mines remain in operation, but visitors can see the old open mine shafts, ruins of ironworks, and grand houses where the ironmasters once lived. Other industries here include the making of knäckebröd (sold as Wasa Crispbread) and tourism. Canoeing is a favorite summer activity, whereas downhill and cross-country skiing lure winter visitors.