Lapland - Inari


© Manfred-Werner - Tsui/Wikimedia Commons© Manfred-Werner - Tsui/Wikimedia Commons

The best Sámi museum in the whole of Lapland is here, an enjoyable hiking route out to a wilderness church starts from here, and boat trips on the steely waters of the lake are available during the summer months.

A short drive of 39km northwest from Ivalo, Inari is to Finland what Karasjok is to Norway. Home to Sámediggi, the Finnish Sámi parliament, Inari (Anár in Sámi) is the centre of Sámi culture in Finland. Although other Sámi groups and Finns have moved into the region for various reasons (people were resettled in Inari, for instance, when Finland lost the Petsamo region to the Soviet Union in 1944), the Sámi have historically always lived in the same place, around the rocky shores of Inarijärvi lake (Anárjávri in Sámi), and today constitute a distinct ethnic group within the Sámi community as a whole, with their own traditional costume and language. However, Inari Sámi is threatened with extinction since its speakers total barely 300, many of whom are elderly or middle aged, and few schoolchildren are learning the language. Although Inari is a pretty enough place to wander around for an hour or so, there are several reasons that make it an ideal stop on the long haul between Rovaniemi and the North Cape: the best Sámi museum in the whole of Lapland is here; an enjoyable hiking route out to a wilderness church starts from here; and boat trips on the steely waters of the lake are available during the summer months.

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