Jukkasjärvi is a village 17 kilometers outside Kiruna. The name comes from a Sámi word that roughly translates to “meeting place by the water”. Here the Torne river is very wide and looks rather like a smaller lake, hence the Finnish word “järvi” – lake. With origins from the 17th century, Jukkasjärvi is one of the oldest villages in Norrbotten. The location at Torne river, near the lake Sautusjärvi, was a strategic starting point for fishing as well as trade.
Parts of the older farm settlement can still be found in the oldest part of the village. Here is also the Old Homestead where the oldest building is a timber cottage from 1736. For a long time, the priest- and bell families were the only residents of the village, but in the 18th century some new settlements were established. Today the village has about 800 inhabitants, but there are also more than 1,000 dogs in the village!
The church dates from 1726 with its original parts from 1607. The church is a timber, red-colored building, with a stand-alone bell tower. The church is built in a special timber construction, that is the only preserved in the country. The altar piece was painted by Bror Hjorth.