Dalarna is a historical province or landskap in central Sweden. Another English language form established in literature is the Dales.
Dalarna adjoins Härjedalen, Hälsingland, Gästrikland, Västmanland and Värmland. It is also bounded by Norway in the west. Borders of the province mostly coincide with the modern administrative Dalarna County (län).
The word “Dalarna” means “the dales” (valleys). The area is a popular vacation destination for Swedes from the south, who often travel there to relax during summer vacations, drawn by good fishing lakes, beautiful campgrounds, and deep forests. Many such Swedes own or rent a second residence in Dalarna, where they are likely to have a vegetable garden and apple trees. In mid-June, summerfest celebrations and dances are held in many of the small villages and, of course, in the larger cities. Dalarna is a region full of historical associations, possessing strong local characteristics in respect of its products, and especially of its people. In the western district Lima, some people in villages speak a traditional dialect, Dalecarlian, while in Älvdalen, they speak a dialect closer to Norwegian, Elfdalian. Historically, the people of Dalecarlia – called Dalecarlians, or Dalesmen (dalkarlar=”dale churls”, masar) and Daleswomen (kullor) – are famous for their love of independence.
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Dalarna’s coat of arms dates from 1560; the use of two crossed arrows as a symbol precedes this. A Duchy of Dalecarlia also exists, and the provincial arms include a ducal coronet.
Blazon: “Azure, two Dalecarlian Arrows Or in saltire point upwards pointed Argent and in chief a Crown of the first”.
As early as 1525 the arrows appeared in use on a seal. Dalarna County uses the same coat of arms, granted for the then Kopparberg County in 1936.
The northern part of the province lies within the Scandinavian mountain range: mountainous country with many glacier-created lakes. The southern part consists of plains, with several mines, most notably copper, traditionally forming part of Bergslagen.
Highest point is Storvätteshågna, 1,204 meters above sea-level. Lowest point is at 55 meters, in the south-east part.
Lake Siljan features in the middle part of Dalarna, and the Västerdal River and Österdal River join the Dal River. Dalarna’s second lake is Runn, which lies between Falun and Borlänge. With 66.6 square kilometres (25.7 sq mi) of water and over fifty islands, the lake is a popular tourist destination.