Røros is a town of painted wooden houses some 600 m above sea level, surrounded by the waste tips of three centuries of copper smelting. A lode of copper ore was discovered nearby in 1644, and the town was established two years later. It was destroyed by the Swedes in 1678, and subsequently laid out to its present plan. The two principal streets run down a slope, and are linked by alleyways, making up a grid pattern. The Røros museum holds collections of historic documents and maps and takes responsibility for the conservation of the copper smelters. More than 80 buildings are protected, and visitors are able to explore underground workings at Olavsgruva, 13 km E.