LKAB is the local mining company so important to Sweden's economy. It is possible to visit it but although we planned it, the mine turned out to be closed for its annual inspection once it got closer to our departure - but we'll be back in summer to see it and much more. Meanwhile, I can inform you that the InfoMine as it is called, takes bookings through the tourist office and that you have to be a minimum of 10 persons (or come in high season when the tourist office has lots of people on their list and it might instead be difficult to find a slot). Apart from taking you through parts of the mine by bus (!) - yes you read correctly - they also show the mushroom growing rooms as this has turned out to be an ideal environment for that too.
You can see my Abisko page on this wonderful place, about an hour west of Kiruna itself (I told you it is a vast municipality) by train or car. Attenborough regards it as one of two natural wonders of Europe because of its rare flora in summer, and the rest of us just love the silhouette of the famous Lapporten ("Lapp Gate") u-shaped valley, the midnight sun and northern light views during the different seasons, and much more.
KIRUNA IRON ORE MINE
With an ore body 4km long, 80m thick and reaching a depth of 2km, LKAB’s Kiruna is the world’s largest, most modern underground iron ore mine. Since mining began here over 100 years ago, LKAB has produced over 950Mt of ore, yet only one-third of the original ore body has been extracted. Since mid-1999, Kiruna’s haulage level at a depth of 775m has been replaced by the next level down at 1,045m, which will support production until 2018. The operation employs 1,800 people, of whom 400 work in the mine.
The InfoMine is located above the present production level, at 540 meters
Dog sledding is the best way to view the northern lights as it takes you to places in the wilderness, away from the city lights, where the Aurora Borealis are more visible. In Kiruna the dog sledding season lasts from mid November to end of April. The northern lights are visible throughout this period but you should avoid going when there's a full moon as a dark sky provides a better experience.
My boyfriend and I went on the Aurora Ride offered by Active Lapland in Kiruna. It was a beautiful and very romantic experience that I can highly recommend. I particularly appreciated being picked-up and dropped off at my hotel in Kiruna. It made the trip very comfortble.
This beautiful wooden church built in 1608 is located down the road from the Ice Hotel. Inside there is an alter painting and a beautiful organ decorated in Sami ornaments, such as horn from reindeer and the northic blond Birchwood.
The walk to the church I think seemed longer than it actually was as it was freezing (as you'd expect) and the snow suits the hotel provide you with are quite difficult to walk in. But it was probably about a 25 minute walk. And on the way there you'll see the picturesque Sami wooden houses.
There isn't much to do around Jukkasjarvi apart from snow related activities. We tried the dog sleding through the woods which was great fun. We also stopped for tea and cake in a traditional wooden hut in the middle of no-where. Again it's expensive (as everything is here) but a must if you want to fill your time.
A real cool place to be in! Especially if you're like me, from a tropical region where snow is never seen! And the only ice we see is in cups and drinks. This time at the ice hotel, i had a drink in ice instead. :)
The suites are also really pretty! well most of them are enjoyable. Some are just not comprehensible. But generally, it was good fun admiring the works.
I'd recommend snow mobiling with www.skoterguiden.se
Two of us were picked up from our hotel in Kiruna and driven to Jukkasjarvi for snow mobiling around the forest and accross a frozen lake. We then had a tour of the Ice Hotel followed by food at the old homestead. In all 4.5 hours.
The guide, Hans-Olaf, was very friendly and enthusiastic about his local area, even showing us round a local church before returning us to our hotel.
A fantastic experience: plenty of skootering and no problem that there were only two of us (in fact it was more fun that we weren't in a convoy of 10 skooters!)
These guys were cheaper than the competition and didn't charge for a minimum of four people either (unlike the firm who operated from our hotel!). We booked from Tourist Info in Kiruna town centre, but Skoterguiden can also be contacted directly.
From Kiruna, following the E10 toward Narvik, after 100 Km, you reach one of the most beautiful places of Sweden: Abisko National Park. I
If the weather is fine you can see the most famous mountains of the Lappi land: Lapporten. I suggest to go over the mountain and to see from the top the fantastic canyon!!!
Fantastic landscape and place!!!!
About 27 Km from Kiruna, on the road toward Jukkasjarvi, there is ESA Space Station of ESRANGE. In summertime there are daily tour from the Tourist Information of Kiruna. In the Space Station ESA built satellite to study Aurora Borealis and the North Atmosphere. Very interesting!!!
In the right part of the altarpiece, from the winter of law through Christ you come to the summer-land of forgiveness where the midnight sun shines like a halo on the head of the Lappish girl Maria and where the flowers blossom. Through Maria Laestadius found peace and certitude of absolution. On his breast he carries the chevalier star of the French Legion of Honour, that he received after having conducted a French botanist expedition in the north of Sweden. He was himself a botanist and a flower carries his name: Papaver Laestadianum. In the centre Jahan Raatamaa, Kaestadius' pupil and assistant. As an ambulatory teacher and preacher he spread the revival among the Laps pf grace, appearing for the first time in 1845 at Karesuando. To the far right the "Third Sacrament" of Laestadianism is shown, that is the confession. They confess their sins embracing and forgiving each other in the name and blood of Jesus Christ.
In the middle of the altarpiece Christ suffering on the Holy Cross is struck by the lightning of law. He rests upon the cross at the same time carrying it: a man of pains, used to suffering. His affliction results in the drops of blood becoming flowers: faith, love and hope. The daffodil is the symbol of resurrection.
In the left part of the altarpiece Laestadius preaches repentance to Laps and settlers. The Landlord breaks the spiritkeg, he stolen reindeer is returned, two people guilty of fornication confess to the clergyman. Behind the Jukkasjarvi church the mountains, symbolizing the mountain of law, Sinai, above: the cold starry sky.
Jukkasjarvi Church. built in 1608, received its present altarpiece as a gift from LKAB in 1958. The triptych, a work by the Swedish artist Bror Hjorth, is carved in teak and represents pictures from the Laestadian revival still of the great importance to religious life in this part of the country. The picture also has a symbolic ageless signification. the revival takes its name from Lars Levi Laestadius, clergyman at Karesuando from 1825 and Pajala.
The architecture of church of Kiruna remember a big Kata (hut) built by the Sami people. Near the church there is the bell tower. People said me that it is fantastic with the snow and, as I can see, they are right!!! The church is opened every day untill 6 pm.