Rich heritage of Kolari´s rural villages
Long before there was roads and railways, the first settlers colonized the magnificent forests and gentle hill-landscapes of western Lapland via the water-ways. They traveled upstream, moving inland to numerous lakes, where self-sufficient settlements were established more than three centuries ago.
In those times, a trip between villages would take many hours or even days, walking along duck-board trails across the vast natural swamps, or using reindeer-sledges in winter. The large reindeer herds of the nomadic Same-people where still roaming the plains and wild forests, when the first farmers, fishermen and lumberjacks arrived – floating timber downstream to the sea, burning tar in the ever-light nights of summer, planting their fields and raising livestock, cultivating the land.
Up to this day, the remnants of both traditional ways of living can be encountered in the lake-side villages of Kolari. While many of them boast a working, modern infrastructure with village schools, small shops and innovative enterprises, their rich heritage is still to be seen – it reflects in the beautiful wooden architecture of many old farm yards. And thanks to the open-minded, warm and welcoming inhabitants these small dots on the map represent the true heart of the Kolari municipality.
So travel inland! Visit the village of Venejärvi, where you may get in close contact with reindeers, take a riding tour through the gentle landscape or witness the annual tar-burning event beneath the midsummer sun. Or pass by Vaattojärvi, home to a well frequented dancing pavilion and many small, local enterprises. In Sieppijärvi, you may visit a quite unique "sheep's auditorium" or hike in the footsteps of the religious founder Lars-Levi Laestadius. Or continue to Kurtakko, a thriving small community along the road to the Ylläs skiing center, with an operating cafe and handicrafts shop as well as a riding stable and a vineyard – where the vine is made from lappish berries and fruits. Cheers.