Monday, 1 September 2014

The Black Hills

Svarta Bergen or The BLACK HILLS

Old winching house by the quarry.

This old quarry is situated in our neighborhood or 4 km's from Lönsboda in north-eastern Skåne. This old quarry was started in 1899 and was important for the region that suffered from emigration in those days. The diabase stone, or black granite, from this quarry has been supplied e.g. to Sweden, USA (e.g. The Empire State Building) and Italy. This quarry was closed down in 1989 and is now preserved as an open-air museum that shows the working life in this industry in the old days. It is marketed for relaxation and inspiration, school classes and groups, art-lovers and photographers. By pushing a button in selected places you will hear a loudspeaker above your head telling stories and giving information.

Krutgubbarna or the "Gunpowder Guys" welcome you at the gate.

The quarry is 900 metres long, 50 metres wide and 92 metres deep but now full of water. Everyday workers had to climb down some 200 steps and back up again. Sixteen cranes lifted up stone material with a maximum weight of 12 tons. The thing was that in the early days workmen had no means of checking the weight of the stones to be lifted up. Despite extra carefulness I believe that there where some accidents. Diabase is still shipped from the new quarry and the stone is used for many purposes including sculptures, works of art, jewelry, facades etc. The veins of the diabase are roughly 1000 million years old and developed as a result of volcanic activity when magma rapidly cooled down. 

Cranes and crane sheds along the quarry.

The men worked down in the quarry all year around. The one handling the cranes in the small sheds were lucky to have a fire place to keep themselves warm. Working teams consisted of two-three men that worked the stone by hand. It took them 10 hours (one working day) to prepare a 3 metres long narrow hole where  the gunpowder was measured and ignited. The area was opened in 1994 as a tourist site making it possible to visit this exciting and unique place in a beautiful natural setting. Several sculptures has been erected by local and international artists.

Black Hill quarry transfered into an open-air museum.

The stone piles above formed an airborne rail system for stone material that were scrapped and piled nearby. It is easy to walk along the many paths in the restricted area, all with signs guiding your way. You will see many sculptures along the route and can read the stories of these art works made of stone. In the red coffee house open all days except Mondays summertime. They display a photographic exhibition and also sell jewelry and smaller pieces of art work.

A selection of sculptures at the Black Hills Quarry.

The vertical work is named "Pyramide with a displaced apex" signed by the artist Takashi Naraha. It reminds us of the life cycle where the displaced apex "symbolizes the fact that life does not always behave as we human beings expect it to; it will not always evolve in a straight linear fashion." Again, the suitcase is named "Good-bye and Thanks" as the artist Masaru Takahashi's appreciation of the black diabase that he wanted to take with him home. 

My visit to this quarry was short but very interesting. The site has successfully been transfered into an exciting tourist attraction worthwhile a visit if anyone passes the region. The entrance fee is SEK 30 that I still need to pay for (shop is closed on Mondays) when I next time visit them. By the way wheel chairs have good access but this is the first place I have encountered where picnicking is not allowed. And also, be mindful of the steep quarry sides. 

Signs guide you around the area from site to site.

Hope that you have liked this visit to the SVARTA BERGEN QUARRY as much as I did. Have a good week everyone and take care.


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