The northernmost church of Sweden 


Karesuando is the northernmost churchvillage in Sweden, 250 km north of the Arctic circle and 180 km from the nearest town, Kiruna. Karesuando parish includes these villages; Kuttainen, Saivomuotka, Paittasjärvi, Sudjavaara, Maunu, Mertajärvi, Idivuoma and the houses along Könkämä river. The population of Karesuando is 350 people, including the other villages there is 1200 people.  

Karesuando is one of the main saami areas and most saami live on reindeer keeping with hunting, fishing and handicraft for additional income. The saami´s country is called Sàpmi and covers the whole of northern Scandinavia, including northern Russia. 

 In 27th January  1999 here was -50°C (-58°F)  

Karesuando is situated on the same latitude as the central Greenland and the northernmost Canada. Do you think it is severe and cold?

Not at all. The Gulfstream contributes to a suprising climate. It´s true that during the winter it can be freezing cold, but it´s a dry, silent cold that feels much more comfortable compare to the intense winds in the south. And during summertime the heat sometimes can be as in the south. 

Desolate? It´s true, here we have enormous wide open spaces and you can wander long distances without meeting a soul, if you so choose. But with this northern peoples warmth and hospitality you never feel the loneliness.



Karesuando can offer you a fantastic, unspoiled and unique nature, along with the saami- and settlers culture. In Karesuando you can hear four different languages - swedish, finish, saami and norwegian. 


From the hill Kaare-vaara you have a fantastic view of Sweden,Finland, Norway and the mountain Pältsa.  
You can see the midnightsun during the 25th may to 17th july. 



The old church was built in 1816. 50 years later, during the Easter , the church cracked along the roof ridge and almost fell in two parts. That churchbuilding was replaced in 1905 with this present church, which was thoroughly restored in 1953/54. The church has an altar sculpture made by Bror Hjort and it represents the famous priest Lars Levi Laestadius, his disciple Johan Raattamaa and the saami girl Maria.  

The church is always open for visitors. 



During the years 1826-49 the preacher and the botanist, Lars Levi Laestadius, lived in Karesuando. In 1828 a simpel cabin was built for him. Today it´s called Laestadius pörte. The cabin is a culture heritage building and it was from here that his renowed religious revival began to spread. The Laestadius revival is to this day a living force that colours the everyday lives of the people in Karesuando. 

When the cabin and the church was restored in 1953-54 the altarpiece and the pews was moved to the cabin.  

Laestadius pörte is always open for visitors. 




In Karesuando there is an old buildning, Viktoriahemmet, which has been a home for the aged people in several years. It was donated by the Queen Viktoria in 1922. From the beginning it was ment as a cottage hospital and a shelter for the saami people. It is now under the management of the Saami Union who owns the building "Sámiid viessu". 

The building functions as a saami centre, museum, exhibition and café. In addition there is a sale of saami handicraft, books and music. 




The folk museum was built in 1888 and it is called the white house. Until 1965 the house was the residence of the district police. 

The building it self, the utility articles, writings and photos gives the best oppurtunity to understand how the manner of living and cultures influenced and formed the people in Lappland. 




In 1989 the Laestadius Botanical garden was layed out in Karesuando. It was built to the memory of the preacher and botanist Laestadius. This garden is connected to the campingplace. In the garden there are hundreds of different plant species. Those plants are collected from the Scandinavian Shield. The rarity in the garden is Laestadius own flower, Laestadius poppy _ Papaver Laestadium. 

Laestadius botanical garden is always open for visitors. 


The settlers homestead was ready about the same time as the garden was. It is, as the garden, connected to the campingplace and contains a main building, a barn, sheds and a smokey sauna. The baker´s cottage was built in 1995.  
The settlers came to the river valley between Sweden and Finland during the 17th Century. From the start they combined many different activities to make a living. Most kept animals and this together with fishing was the basis of their livelihood. 


Our new school is located in the middle of the village. It was built in 1993 and opened 17th of January 1994. The speaker was county governor Mr Gunnar Brodin. The architecture to this building was Mr K G Lindqvist.  


By car you can go up to the hill Kaarevaara were you can see the midnightsun and from where you have a wonderful view of Sweden, Finland, Norway and the mountain Pältsa. Not far away from Kaarevaara there is the "Hilkkukaltio" a spring with healing water. Among the saamipeople they say that the water can heal eye-diseases. 
(Population date 2003-12-31)

Kuttainen (20 km): The northernmost agricultural district in Sweden. Kuttainen is a village with strong connection to the religion of Lars Levi Laestadius. Here you can find stores and a petrolstation. There is also a nice beach just outside the village.  

Population: about 393 people.  

Sudjavaara (40 km): People have lived in Sudjavaara since the beginning of the 18th Century. Earlier the village was the centre of the tobacotrade between Russian and Sweden. In Sudjavaara there is a folk museum were you can rent a cabin.  

Saivomuotka (47 km): In Saivomuotka has Johan Raattamaa lived, a disciple of Lars Levi Laestadius. Today his home is a historical monument and museum.

Population: about 74 people. 

Maunu (15 km): The northernmost road in Sweden goes to the 12 people who lives in Maunu. The pineforest ends here.  

Mertajärvi (15 km): Some people consider Mertajärvi to be one of the most beautiful villages in Sweden. Even if you only are passing through, do take time to make a stop at the haltingplace along road 45. In Mertajärvi there is a store and a nice beach.  

Population: about 132 people.  

Idivuoma (19 km): Idivuoma was founded in the beginning of 1600. In Idivuoma you still can find this old, original bridge made of stones, so called "stenvallsbro". From Idivuoma goes a trail through a tundra region, called Pessinki.  

Population; about 128 people. 


Töyräs Liv, ICA Karesuando 0981- 200 12 
Teofilussons ICA, Kuttainen 0981- 210 63  
Eliassons Partiaffär AB, Kötthall 0981- 200 48


Karesuando medical care 0981-200 33
Vittangi medical care 0981-105 60
SOS 112
Police, Kiruna 0980-744 00
Customs 0981-207 70


Föreningssparbanken, Vittangi 0981- 109 00  
Kassa Service, Karesuando  0981- 200 92
Posten 0981- 202 79  


Arctic Tours AB 0981-200 00
Taxi A. Asplund, Kuttainen 0981-210 38
Länstrafiken (long distance busses) 020-470047



Karesuando Slöjd 0981-203 76  
Karesuandokniven  0981-319 52, 319 53 
Valkeapää Anders, Kuttainen 0981- 210 12  
Nordkalottens Hemslöjd, Mertajärvi 0981- 231 40  
PI- Silver, Mertajärvi 0981- 231 36 
Presentfixer.se 0981-202 79
Karesuando Konst & Hantverk 070-22 58 599 


Motell Arctic 0981- 203 70, 200 00  
Karesuando Camping (kanotuthyrning) 0981- 201 39  
Youth hostel in Karesuando 0981– 20330
Dagnys stuguthyrning 0981- 200 40  
Sandlövs stuguthyrning 0981- 201 90  
Sudjavaara Hembygdsgård, Ulla Söderfalk 0981- 240 21  
alt.Ivan Söderfalk 0981- 240 28
Davvi Hotell, Finland 00 358 16 522 101  
Hotell Karesuando 0981- 203 30  
Saarikoski Turistlogi 0981- 202 13  
Keinovuopio, Mannela 0981- 202 12  


Café Eurosuando 0981- 202 79
Hotell Karesuando 0981- 203 30
Frasses 0981- 203 70  
Bygde- och Krigsmuseét, café 0981-201 70
Karesuando Vildmark 0981-202 79  


OK Karesuando 0981- 200 11  
Statoil, Karesuando 0981- 200 78  
Teofilusson ICA, Kuttainen 0981- 210 63