Last Year in Jokkmokk: Winter Market

The name of Jokkmokk, a small town of under 3,000, in the Lappland province in the very north of Sweden, would be Sami for ‘River’s Curve’, only there is no bend or curve to be found in the water here. The town does lie nearby the Lesser Lule River, which is entirely within the municipality of Jokkmokk, along with the tributaries the Rapa and the Pärl. It began life as a dry spot between waterways, becoming a winter trading post for the Sami in the early 1600s, before gradually developing into its role today as the region’s administrative centre.

For many people Jokkmokk might conjure only the Ikea dining set, a table and four chairs in sturdy pine at exceptional value. But the town is otherwise well known for its winter market, more than 400 years old. It takes place from the first Thursday each February, lasting on into the weekend, and featuring dozens of stalls alongside reindeer parades, fashion shows, and concerts. Thousands attend every year, and they wrap up warm, for situated just above the Arctic Circle, temperatures during the event can reach as low as -40°.

Jokkmokk also boasts a church, a station, the rarely used but well preserved Bio Norden cinema, and Ájtte, Sweden’s principal museum for Sami culture, as well as the surrounding area’s information centre. The following twenty-one photographs were taken about all of these places on a day at the Jokkmokk winter market last year.

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