Jukkasjarvi is situated 15 km east of Kiruna, a town in the northern Swedish Province of Norrbotten. The name ‘Jukkasjarvi’ is of Northern Sami origin. The village got its 1st Finnish-speaking resident settlers in the 17th Century, and they changed the name CONKKIRASJAVRI (lake of assembly, as the area, by the lake was a Sami market place) to JUKKASJARVI. The place is a popular tourist destination during the winter months and is best known for its ICEHOTEL.
In 1989, Japanese artists visited the area and created an exhibition of ‘ice art’. In the spring of 1990, French artist Jannot Derid, held an exhibition in a ‘cylinder-shaped igloo’ in the same area. One night, there were no rooms available in the town, so some of the visitors asked for permission to spend the night in the igloo. They slept in sleeping bags on top of reindeer skins.
The ICEHOTEL was then built. The entire hotel is made out of snow and ice blocks taken from the Torne River. Each spring,, around March, the ICEHOTEL harvests tons of ice from the frozen Torne River and stores it in a nearby hall, with room for over 100,000 tons of ice and 30,000 tons of snow.
Some of the blocks of ice weigh two tons and cranes are used to carry them. The ice is used for creating furniture —— beds and chairs, chandeliers, ice-bar designs and ice-glasses, while the snow is used for a strong structure for the building. About 1,000 tons of what is left is used in the construction of the next ICEHOTEL.
There is no heating in the bedrooms. Temperatures are constantly around 23 degrees F. There is a sauna, that is run on the premises of the ICEHOTEL with hot-tubs —— outdoors.
The ICEHOTEL JUKKASJARVI is known to be the biggest ICEHOTEL in the world, spanning over some 6,000 sq. m. The architecture of the hotel is changed every year.
Each year, for the past 24 years, the ICEHOTEL has accepted applications from artists, around the world, to design the world-famous ICEHOTEL’s art suites. Each year, around 15 applications are accepted with their designs and the artists head there, in November, to build the suites.
This spring (2015), the ICEHOTEL JUKKASJARVI will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary. Up to now, about 250,000 have come and stayed at the ICEHOTEL JUKKASJARVI.