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Day 7: Kiruna

There was lots of snow outside when we woke up in Kiruna this morning :)


The house across the road from where we're staying also had some rather spectacular icicles!


It had been pretty much dark when we arrived in Kiruna yesterday, so we were looking forward to seeing the town in the daylight.


As we set off in the direction of the town centre, we passed some absolutely enormous piles of snow :o 


It didn't take us long to reach the town centre.


We found some large snow-covered rocks...


...some pretty Christmas decorations...


...and a whole load more snow :) 


It's hard to make them out in the photos because everything is so white, but there were also some snow sculptures...


...and some ice sculptures.


I really liked these presents made out of snow :) 


We didn't know a lot about Kiruna before we came here, choosing to stay here for a couple of nights mainly because it was the end of the railway line and somewhere I managed to find affordable accommodation, but it's actually a really pretty little town.


With a population of around 17,000 people, it's the northernmost town in Sweden.


The iron-ore mine here is apparently the largest one in the world, producing 90% of all the iron in Europe.


Extraction has been going on here since around 1900 and has made Kiruna a prosperous place. However, the mine is now so extensive that it is starting to cause the town to subside :o 


The authorities have therefore decided to demolish the town centre and relocate it to a safer site, 2 miles to the east of its current location.


It sounds rather dramatic, but it isn't all happening at once; buildings are being moved gradually, with the aim that the whole town centre will have been moved by 2035.


The entire relocation process is being financed by the mine, with residents whose homes have to be sacrificed being compensated for 125% of the price.


The most historic buildings in the town will be carefully dismantled and rebuilt in the new location.


These include Kiruna's iconic wooden church, which we caught sight of while we were strolling around.


The church was built in 1912 and is one of the largest wooden buildings in Sweden.


Its unusual shape is because it was designed to represent the shape of a traditional Sami tent.


Once we'd passed the church, we caught sight of a rather strange sight; a model rocket by the side of the road. Apparently there is a rocket research centre located outside the town.


Across the road we found the entrance to the local park, marked by a large block of ice.


We had a walk around the park, which was home to some unusual sculptures, like this rather cross-looking owl.


There were also some really interesting photos on display of the early settlers in Kiruna.


After we'd been around the park, we walked back up past the church, towards the town centre again.


We found an icy throne...


...which I couldn't resist having a sit in :) 


As we rounded a corner we saw something which I really didn't expect to find in such a remote corner of the world xD


On our way back towards the apartment, we also saw something else we didn't expect to see; a huge container by the side of the road, full of snow.


A man with a digger was collecting snow...


...and depositing it in a big pile further down the road.


Next thing we know, a lorry arrives with an empty container.


The empty container is deposited...


...and the digger immediately starts filling it with snow.


In the meantime, the lorry is picking up the full container of snow. It was so heavy that the front wheels of the lorry lifted off the ground as it was picking it up!


The lorry then drove off with the snow, presumably to dispose of it somewhere outside the town.


It was a really interesting insight into everyday life here; it's hard to imagine having so much snow that you need industrial machinery to remove it!

It's been quite cloudy again today, but once we got back to the apartment the sky was turning a beautiful shade of blue for sunset :) 

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Edited by Clare

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