Kiruna cathedral Architecture at dusk.

Sweden - Kiruna

Kiruna is the northernmost city in Sweden, and includes the country’s highest peak, Kebnekaise at 2111m.

Although Kiruna (in the county of Norbotten) was officially founded in 1900, it only gained city rights in 1948. It is known that the region around the city has been inhabited for at least 6000 years as shown by archeologically evidence.

This is this site of the world’s largest underground iron ore mine. The iron ore locations were reordered in Kiruna;on Kiirunavaara (a hill with the world’s largest deposits of iron ore) and Luossavaara (presently has an inactive mine, but an active ski lift, slope and hiking path)..

Since the start of the 20th century the Swedish mining company LKAB (Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara Aktiebolag) has been extracting iron ore from these two hills.

One is able to experience midnight sun with a 24 hour day from the end of May to the middle of July in this city. The polar night is experienced from early December to about the middle of January when there is no sunlight from the sun, but sometimes for an hour there can be twilight. Midnight sun and polar nights in Kiruna occur as it is situated about 145km north of the Arctic Circle.

This city usually has snow cover from mid-October to mid-May, while snow has been known to fall throughout the year. Average highs in summer may be about 14°C and at all other times below freezing.
There are different forms of reindeer meat served as specials at restaurants, and even local simple sandwiches with a filling of reindeer meat are commonly prepared. Kiruna is a small city with the main nights for going out being Friday, Saturday and Wednesday.

Several national parks exist west to the city. From 1953 major renovations were done to the city and it soon increased in size. Every year the Snow Festival is held in winter, since 1985, with various activities such as the ice sculpture contest. The year 2000 was a landmark to celebrate the 100 year birthday of the city, since then every summer the Kiruna festival is also hosted.

Tourism is also important for the economy, mining is a main landmark of the city and there have been plans in moving the town by several kilometres to cater for the mining industry. The Institute of Space Physics and the Department of Space Science is part of Luleå University of Technology in Kiruna. There are plans for this city to also be the home of Spaceport Sweden in an agreement with Virgin Galactic.

The local small Kiruna airport is a few kilometres outside the city. Land transport from the airport to the city may need pre-arrangements as the airport bus service does not make as many trips on weekdays during the off season.

A train station is about 400m away from the city centre;a train from Stockholm takes about 17 hours to reach Kiruna. The first tram began transporting local residents from 1907.

Buses from other surrounding populated areas also make the route to this city. Driving a car to Kiruna may be done on a road that is narrow with a low imposing speed limit and odd wild animals crossing the road. The closest city, which is Gällivare, by road to Kiruna is 115km. During winter months breaking down on the road can be a threat to your life, as temperatures are below zero, the closest base of assistance may be far away and cell phone coverage is not as full as it may be in metropolitan areas.

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