The world’s most versatile space center, Esrage, is located in the very north of Sweden, above the Arctic Circle. The facility has been operational since 1966 and has access to a vast, unpopulated impact and recovery area. However, Kiruna in Sweden is about more than space. Read on.
Esrange is located in the very north of Sweden, above the Arctic Circle and has access to a vast, unpopulated impact and recovery area. Presently it is used by the international scientific community for launching sounding rockets for microgravity and atmospheric research as well as high altitude balloons for astronomy, atmospheric research and drop tests of space and aerial vehicles.
The Icehotel is nearby
Some 17km away in the village of Jukkasjärvi is the world’s original and largest ice hotel which first opened in 1990. It gets remade each year using frozen water from the nearby Torne River, and from December to April is filled with lavish ice sculptures, the famous ice-bar and the very decent Icehotel Restaurant. It’s become a worldwide brand, but it’s no less impressive for it.
It’s got the world’s largest iron ore mine
You can head 540m underground on a tour of Kiruna’s LKAB iron ore mine, a staggering place where 76,000 tons of iron ore are brought to the surface every day. At its deepest point, the mine goes down to 1,540m.
It’s near Sweden’s highest mountains, and one of Europe’s largest wilderness areas
It’s about one hour’s drive to Abisko National Park, where you can hike the famous 440km Kungsleden (The King’s Trail) through one of Europe’s largest natural wilderness, taking in Kebnekaise, Sweden’s highest mountains at 2,111m.
The activities are different
If reindeer and dog sledding and snowmobile riding aren’t enough, there’s always snow golf – with orange balls and “whites” rather than greens, it’s often played in the evenings to coincide with Northern Lights. For more information go to Bjorkliden.
It’s got skiing (and cars)
Nearby Riksgränsen (country border) is not only one of Sweden’s top ski resorts, with skiing possible under the midnight sun – it’s also a testing point for European cars, which come to drive on snow-covered roads and frozen lakes.
Kiruna In Sweden Is About More Than Space, compiled by Tor Kjolberg