Lapland’s Valley: Inari

Inari, Sami culture, Finland

Inari, Finland

Inari. The capital of Sámi culture in Lapland, the tiny village of Inari is home to the wonderful Siida museum and the ‘wilderness church’, a meeting place for reindeer herders since at least 1646. Nearby Lemmonjoki National Park is the largest in Finland, and a popular destination for trekkers and gold-panners.

Lemmonjoki National Park

Lemmonjoki National Park

The name “Ijahis Idja” is Sámi and means “nightless night,” which is a good description of what the nights are like as we enter the season of the midnight sun. Placed in the beginning of summer, this is a Native festival which includes lots of joiking, speakers discussing Native music, and also the specially invited performers from other Native communities.

Some of the things you can do in Inari include:

The Sámi Museum Siida: It is the national museum of the Sámi and a national special museum in Finland. The Sámi Museum stores the spiritual and material culture of the Finnish Sámi in its collections and presents it to the public through its exhibitions and publications. Its main purpose is to support the identity and the cultural self-esteem of the Sámi.

The Sámi Museum has its main premises at Siida in Inari. Its offices, collections administration, exhibition production and other central activities are located at Siida. The Sámi Museum also has a unit in the western part of the Sámi Area, at Skierri in Hetta in the municipality of Enontekiö. In addition, the Sámi Museum runs the Skolt Sámi Heritage House in Sevettijärvi in the municipality of Inari.

Siida Museum

Siida Museum

Snowmobile safaris: You can rent a snowmobile or participate in a safari organized by the program service companies. For a beginner, the safari is a good way to get acquainted with driving a snowmobile.

Snowmobile safaris

Snowmobile safaris

The Inari Lake: The Inari Lake is often listed as one of the 1000 must see places on earth. It is wonderful place to be especially during the summer midnight sun hours. In practical, you could spend all you summer holiday by this lake. Where there is lake around there is always a river as well. This region is rich in water and lots of small streams as well as rivers. It is great for fishing and other river adventures.

The Inari Lake is a great one for fishing, you can try your luck with the simplest equipment but you will increase your chances with the pro stuff.

The Inari Lake

The Inari Lake

Shopping: If you blink behind the wheel or nod off in the bus you might miss the village of Inari (Sámi: Anár). It is the main Sámi community in the region and a centre for genuine Sámi handicrafts – although the galleries and boutique shops have an air of commercialism, this is the best place in Finland to shop for genuine Lappish and Sámi handmade textiles, jewellery, silverware and woodwork.

Sámi handicrafts

Sámi Market

Sámi handicrafts

Sámi handicrafts

“Compass” is a Finnbay column about travelling in Finland that’s interesting or weird (relatively, of course). It appears weekly, monthly, or maybe even annually, depending on the time of the year and when we are not busy working on other superfluous column ideas.

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