70km (43 miles) N of Gothenburg, 437km (272 miles) SW of Stockholm

If some director ever remakes the film classic The Third Man, which starred Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles, it should be set in Trollhättan instead of Vienna. The town celebrates an industrial legacy of the 1800s -- its foggy canals and crashing waterfalls are offset by old warehouses, making for a perfect dramatic backdrop for a film noir.

Once early inhabitants learned how to harness the power of the Göta River, they began to build sawmills along its banks. By the early 16th century, a small community had been established. The building of the Göta Canal in the 18th and 19th centuries gave Trollhättan its first major thrust toward the future. Hundreds of laborers moved in to build the canal and its locks, and houses sprang up on the islands and banks of the river as the community grew.

In time, cheap electricity obtained directly from the power stations at the falls attracted business companies that led to major industries (including Saab). These companies helped put Trollhättan on the Nordic map, and they employ a good percentage of the town's 55,000 inhabitants.