In My Heart

Karasjok is a center of Sami culture

Karasjok - a Sami centre

Many people consider Karasjok as being the Norwegian Sami capital. Around the village of Karasjok the magnificent mountain plateaus stretch in every direction with the wide horizons. But the village itself is situated in a forested valley.

The climate of Karasjok is more continental with cold winters and relatively warm summers. The village has recorded the coldest official temperature ever in Norway: -51.4 °C (-60.5 °F) on 1 January 1886.

The warmest temperature ever recorded here in the summer is 32.4 °C (90.3 °F).

What to see

  • The Sami museum called Riddo Duottar Museat in Sami.

  • Karasjok old church was 200 years old in 2007. It is one of the very few wooden buildings remaining after World war II.

    Karasjok In the picture you see the old church at Karasjok.
    (All photos: Olav E. Johansen/Ossimellom)

  • The Sami Artist Center has exciting exhibitions with art by Sami artists.

  • Assebakti cultural- and recreational path, about 5 km back and forth, twists and turns through old and forgotten settlements and hunting areas. In connection with the path there are sculptures by 8 artist fra the whole Nordic region. They were erected in 1995 when 8 artists participated at a Cultural symposium.

    Sapmi park

    At Karasjok a visit to the Sami cultural centre, Sapmi, is probably a must.

    At the Sapmi park you can sit on soft reindeer skins as you taste Lapp food and at the same time enjoy the smell of the fireplace. At the multimedia show you can listen to yoiks and stories about the Lapps.

    At the unique culture park you get an insight into the life of the Lapps (or the Sami), how they lived through the generations. Here you can give yourself the opportunity to learn about Lapp culture, history and mythologi.

    The Norwegian Sami Parliament

    The Samediggi - the Sami Parliament is situated at Karasjok. It consists of 43 representatives who are elected by the Sami by direct vote every four years in connection with Norways general elections.

    Karasjok The first election was held in 1989. Thus the Samediggi is now in its fifth period, 2005-2009. The 2009 elections are in September. The Samediggi is an elected representative body for the Norwegian Sami, with representatives chosen by direct elections in constituencies all over the country. Only Sami registered in an electoral register can vote.

    The Samediggi building was officially opened November 2nd 2000 by H.M. King Harald V. The building is designed by architects Stein Halvorsen and Christian Sundby.

    The building is shaped in a half circle and has an area of 5,300 square metres. The main assembly hall has the form of a lavvu which is a Sami tipi (tent). This part is the focal point of the whole building. The Samediggi building was awarded the State Architecture Prize in 2001.

    The Sami Special Library is situated in the Samediggi building. Read more about the Norwegian Sami Parliament at Karasjok.

    Easter festival

    Every year there are numerous activities at Karasjok during Easter week. There are activities for everyone. Families are encoutaged to visit the festival. Or you may go on your own to some of the events or enjoy the silence of the Lapland wilderness.

    Easter means something special to many Lapps. Traditionally the Lapps gathered at Easter time. At this time the herds were at peace in the mountains. This was the quiet time before the spring migration to the Arctic coast. Most people were able to meet for religious purposes and other reasons as well.

    Getting to the Tana valley

    People come from all parts of the world to have a look at us living here. Here is an overview of various ways of getting to the Tana valley

    Accommodation in Karasjok

    The only hotel is near the Sapmi cultural centre.

    Then there is a nice campsite near the Sami Parliament.

    And especially if you like dogs, the Engholm Husky is a nice place to stay.

    Other resources

    Here is a large descrition of the E-6 route Alta-Kirkenes, also with side trip possibilities.

    Here you find an overview of mountains i Karasjok.

    Where the Reindeer Roam