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Nordlys, Geilo
Nordlys, Geilo.
Photo: Emil Eriksson
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About Hol municipality and Geilo

Situated at the foot of the Hallingskarvet National Park, as the gateway to the largest high mountain plateau in Northern Europe  - the Hardangervidda National Park and in the upper reaches of the Hallingdal valley, Geilo (794 m above sea level) welcomes all nature enthusiasts to its many fine activity and lodging facilities. In 2008 Geilo was given the status as a National Park Village. Geilo belongs to the municipality of Hol, which consists of 8 small villages and towns (Dagali, Skurdalen, Geilo, Ustaoset, Haugastøl, Hol, Hovet and Myrland/Sudndalen). A total amount of approximately 4500 people live in the municipality (slightly increasing). The largest town and shopping centre is Geilo, with about 2500 inhabitants. The administrative centre is in the village of Hol.

Area: 1889 sq. kilometres, the majority of the land is mountain and hill-land, 91% above 900 m above sea level.
Hol municipality is the “entrance” to the largest high mountain plateau in Northern Europe – the Hardangervidda National Park, a particularly valuable highland area and the largest national park in Norway. The area is important as the home of the largest wild reindeer herds in Europe. Hallingskarvet National Park (450 km2) is also close by, with the highest peak in Hol, Folarskardnuten, 1933 m above sea level.

Evidence of how people have utilized the natural resources, especially the reindeer, is prominent in Hallingskarvet and on Hardangervidda in the form of paths, tracks, shelters and animal traps. The hunting and fishing resources are still actively used, and the possibilities for cross country skiing and hiking are nearly unlimited.

Skiing in Geilo, SkiGeilo

Events that have marked Geilo’s (and Hol’s) development include, among other things:

  • At Fekjo by the Ustedalsfjorden lake in Geilo there are many cultural relics from the prehistoric and historic times. The burial mounds in the area is from the Viking Age (900’s). 10 of the approximately 20 burial mounds were investigated in 1923. Among the findings was a small ax blade of iron, a sewing needle and key to a casket. It is interesting that most of the investigated barrows were female graves.
  • Iron extraction: there is registered 7 coal pits and ironworks in Fekjo, and several hundred coal pits all over Geilo. Today, in Fekjo, there are only a few coal pits left and the ironworks plant is gone. The charcoal which was made in the pits, were either used in iron production or in the smithy on the farm. Throughout Ustedalen valley (Geilo) there has been an unusually high activity in iron production from both Viking and medieval times. The many coal pits and ironworks plants show that it was made more iron than was needed locally. Iron was probably an important commodity for people in Ustedalen in Iron Age and Middle Ages.
  • Smithies in Geilo. Brødrene Øyo (1882) produced mainly scythes and tools, today mainly tools, kitchen tools and - knives and cutlery. Brusletto (1896) also produced scythes and tools, today mainly sports kniv