The town of Karasjok would be a small town in most part of the world but up here in the northern extreme of Norway it is a giant city. And when it comes to Sami culture it is the capital of the Sami in Norway. The Sami population in Norway is actually the biggest in the world with almost half of the Sami people living inside the Norwegian borders with the bulk of the rest in Finland and Sweden and a few still living in Russia.
With the large Sami influence in the town it is the best place to go in Norway if you want to know a bit more about the way of life of these people of the north. Actually there is a bit of an exhibition right next to our hotel which is officially closed but you can walk in and have a little look around in the evening.
There are a few buildings on display and apparently a little bit of a Sami amusement park during the day. We could go the next day but decided not to. From the hotel we can see inside the park area where there is a few reindeers – if you make it to Karasjok you probably already seen reindeers on the way to here – but if you have somehow missed out you are sure to see a few here.
The city is home to the most significant institution in Sami culture with the Sami parliament where people who have at least one grand parent who spoke one of the Sami languages are eligible to vote. The parliament has limited powers considering there is actual self-rule for the Sami people but it is heard in questions of minorities’ right and the way of life for the Sami culture of the north.
The parliament is a unique looking building which apparently is inspired by the Sami tens and it looks like a giant tent. Next to the Sami parliament is the Sami national library which specializes in Sami language books and other issues of special interest to the Sami people. We didn’t go inside since the parliament is closed during the weekends when we visited.
The final main Sami attraction is the main Sami museum of Norway which is a nice place to go and visit. Despite a few different attractions they really only take a limited time so spending a full day inn Karasjok was probably a bit too much – but then we had time to relax a bit without having a drive today.