Reindeer and a Lapp
The “reindeer statue”, as it is colloquially known, is an icon of Sodankylä. It was erected in 1970 in honour of the “great work that the man of Lapland and the rest of Finland has done on the fells and forests for the sake of his home and fatherland in the harsh and unique province of Lapland”.
Reindeer husbandry is a way of life for many Sodankylä families today and is very important for those who practise it, as it keeps the link to the cycle of nature alive. Sodankylä has as many as 20,000 reindeer – double the number of people!
There are about 50 monuments in Sodankylä. Many villages which were covered by reservoirs, such as Mutenia, Korvanen and Riesto, have had monuments erected in their memory.
In addition to the reindeer statue, make sure that you at least see these:
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- The Joutselkä statue and swamp privates’ memorial stone, Sodankylä: the battle of Joutselkä memorial (1967) and the swamp privates’ memorial nearby (1994).
- Memorial to those who left Sodankylä for the Winter War, Sodankylä: the statue in front of the municipal building depicts a soldier in his snow suit. The figure was carved from quartzite from Lokka.
- Ruins of the Ala house, Sodankylä: these furnace ruins tell of the destruction wrought by the Germans’ Mountain Army during the Lapland War in autumn 1944. The Army systematically destroyed bridges, buildings and roads in Lapland, among other objects. In the same yard as the furnace is a house, which was spared destruction.
- Panner statue, Tankavaara: the panner was unveiled during the world gold-panning championships in 1993. You can find the Panner in the yard of the Gold Prospector Museum in Tankavaara.
- Andreas Alariesto monument, Lokka: Andreas Alariesto (1900–1989), born in the village of Riesto, subsequently covered by the Lokka reservoir, is the pride of Sodankylä.
- Star lords’ monument, Sodankylä: On this site stood the measuring station of the Finnish Academy of Sciences between 1882 and 1884. Nowadays, the Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory, Tähtelä, stands on the other side of the river. Its huge satellite dish can sometimes be seen from Route 4.