Mora, on Lake Siljan, Sweden
Horses enjoying the weather near Lake Siljan
Mora is the largest town on Lake Siljan, Sweden's sixth largest lake. It is located on a promontory near the spot where the Osterdalalven flows into the lake, and is the center of an old parish which was established in the 13th century. Nusnas is a small village a few kilometres away from Mora, and is famous for the little Dalecarlian horses that are manufactured there. The Dalahäst wooden horse began as a toy for children to show appreciation to the equine workmates of the people in the fields and forests. The patterns on the horse may have been influenced by the Viking communities and burial grounds - the horse was a sacred animal of the As - religion (the Vikings). When Christianity came to Sweden, the church attacked the worship of the "unclean" horse because it was the Viking's sacred animal. This religious removal of the horse was successful in nearly all of Sweden, except for the northern part of Dalarna.The sale of the horses at town markets was condemned by the bishop in 1642 and there was even a witch trial conducted in the 17th century where the priest alleged that witches had used the wooden horses to steal milk from the neighbour's cows. It was also alleged that the devil himself gave the small horses to the little children. In spite of all these attacks on this small toy, in the area round Mora, horses dating back to the 17th century have been found.
Dalarna - Varmland
Humans have been living at Mora since 4,000 BC. A Viking settlement 6,000 years old has been discovered on the island of Sollerson, and large Viking burial grounds have been uncovered near Bengtsarvet, both quite close to Mora. The area is heavily forested, and nowhere else is fir of such good quality. The scenery is breathtaking, with an abundance of plants and animals.
The Swedish kings were elected at Mora. After the election, the king was elevated on top of a flat stone and presented to his subjects. The stones are thought to have been destroyed in 1515 during the civil war with Denmark.
On the church green in Mora in 1520, Gustav Vasa, one of the kings who stood on a Mora Stone, urged residents of the town to take up arms and help free Sweden from Danish occupation. (Photo source: Nationalmuseum). Vasa was the last remaining Swedish noble to survive the Danish bloodbath.
Gustav Vasa 1520 - Church Green
Vasa hid in Dalarna when the Danish were looking for him. As he tried to raise the locals to fight against the Danes, the Danes had already occupied Stockholm and therefore controlled Sweden. There is a legend that says that in 1520 King Gustav Vasa fled on skis from Mora after hiding from the Danes. Historians now think he travelled on snowshoes. Vasaloppet, the huge ski race that ends in Mora, commemorates Gustav's journey on the first Sunday of every March. It involves 90 km of gruelling nordic skiing and about 15,000 people.
The Olsons weren't always Olsons - they began as Anderssons in Sweden. It is a mystery how the name Olson began to be used.
My great great grandfather, Anders Andersson, was born in Sweden in 1810, probably at Nusnas, Mora (Source: Family Search - Ancestral Record BS1R-VQ). He married my great great grandmother, Brita Olsson, who was born at Mora on September 18, 1814 (Source: Family Search - Swedish Baptisms - Source Film No. 206617). By 1836, they had two children, Olof Andersson (my great grandfater) and Peter Andersson (born November 8, 1836) (Source: Family Search - Ancestral Record BS1R-WW). Olof was born at Nusnas, Mora, and Peter was born at Djura, Leksand. I will be visiting the Family History Center in Cochrane to obtain the original records which may provide more information.
Mora to Leksand, Sweden
Nusnas, Mora, Sweden
Nusnas, Mora, Sweden