Skolt Sámi traditions and majestic scenery en route towards the Arctic Ocean
About Näätämö & Sevettijärvi
Skolt Sámi traditions
Sevettijärvi is the centre of the Skolt Sámi area, and it is one of the very few places in the world where it is still possible to hear the Skolt Sámi language being spoken daily. The Skolt Sámi are an indigenous population of the Kola Peninsula in Russia, who lost their native lands in Petsamo as a result of the Second World War. Sevettijärvi was founded when a total of 51 Skolt families were evacuated from Petsamo in 1949. In terms of their language and traditions, Skolts belong to the Eastern Sámi and they are Orthodox by religion. Skolt Sámi clothing style, music, festival traditions, customs, and food traditions also include eastern features.
A true wilderness
Located in the furthest north-eastern corner of Finnish Lapland, Sevettijärvi is only half-an-hour-drive from the lively border village of Näätämö. Due to the nearby River Näätämöjoki, the area is one of the favourite spots for fishermen. Both locations are reachable from the airport of Ivalo and the village of Inari. Airport and harbour of Kirkenes, Norway are also near. It is easy to combine a road trip on the shore of the Arctic Ocean to your visit in Näätämö and Sevettijärvi.
Local sights in Näätämö & Sevettijärvi
Skolt Sámi Heritage House & Orthodox Church
The Skolt Sámi Heritage House is a great place to learn about the Skolt Sámi history and culture. The Heritage House is open in the summertime and it is free for visitors. It is located next to the Orthodox Church and its cemetery.
The Sevettijärvi-Pulmanki hiking trail leads from Lake Pulmankijärvi through the vast wilderness of Kaldoaivi. The route is approximately 60-70 km long. In its southernmost parts the route traverses’ boreal forests, while the terrain becomes more rugged towards the North, birch being the predominant vegetation. There are some wilderness huts along the route and the most recommended time for hiking is during July – August. There is also a separate winter route both for skiers and snowmobilers.
Näätämöjoki River is situated north of Sevettijärvi. The river is born in Iijärvi and runs into the Arctic Ocean on the Norwegian side. Näätämöjoki is an ideal destination, especially for fly fishers. Salmon, trout, grayling and whitefish are caught in the mighty River Näätämöjoki. It is recommended to fish together with a professional fishing guide to get the most of the roaring river.
Vätsäri Wilderness Area
Vätsäri is located very remotely – south of Sevettijärvi, behind the Lake Inarijärvi, near the Norwegian and Russian borders. This wilderness area is part of the Finnish-Norwegian-Russian protected area entity called Pasvik-Inari Trilateral Park. The wilderness area is a demanding hiking destination because of its difficult terrain and is not suitable for inexperienced hikers.