Trollhattan Tourist Attractions
The industrial town of Trollhättan (pop. 50,000), on the Götaälv, received its municipal charter only in 1916 - though the prehistoric remains found in this area provide evidence of human occupation dating back 7,000 years. The name of the town first appears in 1413 in the tax records of King Eric of Pomerania, which state that corn was ground for the castle by the Trollhättan mill.The locks of Trollhättan draw thousands of tourists each year, who come to watch boats make their way through. The dramatic release of water, by the power company Vattenfall, into the old river gorge is another highlight.The mills and sawmills of earlier times have now given place to such well-known industrial enterprises as SAAB and NOHAB and various engineering and electrical engineering plants.
The once-renowned Trollhättan Falls, at the point where the Götaälv had cut its way through a ridge of gneiss, formerly plunged down from a height of 38.50m/126ft to 5.7m/19ft over a distance of 1,500m/1,640yd, but are now almost dry. They can be seen in their former magnificence only in the month of July, when the water level of Lake Vänern usually makes it possible to release water over the falls; and "Waterfall Day" is celebrated in mid July.The huge masses of water which once poured over the falls are now conveyed in underground tunnels to a power station. As early as the middle of the 17th century the Trollhättan Falls were seen as an obstacle to the creation of a navigable waterway from Sweden to Norway and thus to the North Sea, for which the Götaälv provided a basis, and Christoffer Polhem was commissioned by Charles XII to construct a waterway bypassing the falls. Work was suspended in 1755, and the project, involving the provision of eight locks, was completed only in 1800. Since this canal did not meet the increased demand created by the development of industry it was enlarged in 1844 by Nils Ericsson. The final stage came in 1916, when a new canal with four locks, overcoming a height difference of 32m/105ft, was opened to traffic. Some 20,000 vessels now pass through the locks every year.Visitors can see the locks in operation and have a conducted tour of the Oliden power station. Other features of interest in Trollhättan are the open-air museum in a nature park, the Saab Automobile Museum and the "King's Cave" (Kungsgrottan) at the east end of Kong Oscars Bro (King Oscar's Bridge). There is a fine view of the town from Kopparklinten, a hill on the west bank of the river.