The Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi and
Jokkmokk's Winter Market jubilee
2005

This trip was arranged by Gert Wilhelmsson, Willes Sport in Lerum just outside Göteborg. Gert, mostly called Fjäll-Wille (Mountain Wille), or just Wille has been arranging trips to Jukkasjärvi and  the Wintermarket for many years.

We were 36 participants from Göteborg incl suburbs. We went by the night train Sunday evening January 31 and arrived at noon in Kiruna the next day. We went by bus to Jukkasjärvi. We spent one night at the Icehotel and Wednesday morning we went down to Jokkmokk and the winter market. The accommodation in Jokkmokk was simple, mattresses on the floor in classrooms in one of the schools in Jokkmokk.

Jokkmokk's Winter market is an uninterrupted tradition since 1606 and it has been held every year since then the first Thursday, Friday and Saturday in February. During the jubilee the market ended on Sunday February 6. There were also many different events around the market like exhibition of sami arts, lectures and activities like reindeer parade, called ‘Renraid’, dog sledge, helicopter tours

We went home on Sunday, first by bus to Boden and then the night train to Göteborg.

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We visited the church in Jukkasjärvi just after arriving in Jukkasjärvi. The central part of the church derives its origin from 1607. The Jukkasjärvi Congregation includes among other places the City of Kiruna.

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The front of the organ is made of masur birch, reindeer horn and tanned leather. Even the keyboard is made of birch and reindeer horn. The keys to the organ stop are decorated with different signs from the Sami mythology.

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The first thing you see when you enter the church is the altarpiece made by the famous Swedish artist Bror Hjort. It's a gift to the church from the mining company LKAB. The altarpiece was given 1958 to the church when it celebrated it's 350th anniversary. It's a triptych cut in teak wood. Besides the image of Christ we also meet the priest Lars Levi Laestadius (1800-1861).

Bror Hjorth tells in his book "Mitt liv i konsten" (My life with arts) about his work like this: "I have put the Jukkasjärvi church among high fjaells (mountain) that actually don't exist, but this gives Lapland to the spectator". The sinners regret, one breaks the schnapps cask , another one returns the stolen reindeer, a man and a woman are standing regretful for their thoughtless life listening to Laestadius hellfire sermon: "You drunkard an thieves. You lechers and whores. Convert". The severity in the punishment gets it's sharpness from the winter landscape, the stars and the northern lights in the night. The northern lights come into the painting with Christ in the central picture. The bloodstains from the forehead and side of Christ and become red flowers, the yellow daffodil suggests the resurrection. The picture then transfers to the mild night landscape of the relief to the right with Mary, who gets the midnight sun as a gloria. We can see Laestadius kneeling among his flowers and also the apostle of love, Raattamaa. It culminates with the ecstatic hope of joy of the Sami woman who has found salvation and ends with the beautiful and peaceful Laestadian greeting from the couple in the liikutuksian."

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The entrance to the Ice Hotel is illuminated when it's dark.

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Since this was the 10th time Fjäll-Wille came to the Icehotel together with a group he had got his own sign to the right of the entrance.

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There was a colonnade just inside the entrance. From this colonnade there were corridors to the rooms.

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There were many terrific ice sculptures. All are made from ice taken from the Torne River which flows just outside the Ice hotel. They say that this ice is very suiting for ice sculptures since there are very few air bubbles in it.

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There was a bar where the drinks were served in glasses made of ice. You didn't need any ice cubes in those drinks.....

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The rooms were designed in different ways by different artists. The bed lies on a wooden frame on the ice. On the frame there is a foam-rubber mattress and on top of this there is a reindeer fell.

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In one of the rooms you could see this sculpture.

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One of the other rooms was divided by a thin ice wall.

When it was time to go to bed you picked up a sleeping bag and a sheet to put inside the sleeping bag. The temperature in the hotel was about 5 centigrade below zero but there was no risk that you should feel cold inside the sleeping bag.

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Here is a bed with a frame of ice.

In the morning the staff woke you up and they also served a cup of warm lingonberry drink. After getting up you could go to the sauna and also have a shower before breakfast.

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The Icehotel has a church which belongs to the Jukkasjärvi congregation. Many couples are married and children are christened in this church. In the foreground you can see the christening font which is of course made of ice.

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These windows made of ice were in the church wall

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Outside the Icehotel there were several sculptures, some of them illuminated.

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The Icehotel has also a theatre.
Among other performances they have been giving McBeth in the Sami language

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We arrived in Jokkmokk on Wednesday. The real market hadn't yet started but there was a historical market close to the old homestead museum

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You could warm yourself at this cosy fire.

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On Wednesday evening the market was opened by the King of Sweden and on Thursday morning everything was open. On Thursday morning there was also a Market Service in the Jokkmokk New Church.

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On Friday we went with dog sledge over the lakes Stor-Skabram and Lill-Skabram.

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On the isthmus between the two lakes there was a shelter where we got glogg, soup and coffee. Unfortunately the wind was blowing "the wrong way" so the shelter was almost of no use.

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The big market day was on Saturday. It was very crowded between the market booths and there was a very brisk trade.

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About 80000 visitors had come to the market and looking at the crowd on Saturday it was not hard to imagine that most the 80000 were there this day.

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Vild-Hasse is kind of an institution on this market. He was very satisfied with this year's market. He told us that this was the first time everything that he had brought to the market was sold out.

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"I like you to come back next year!"