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The development of the original, ancient Sami huts project in the Laplandiya part of Russia was called “In the land of Standing Stones”. Even though the majority of Lapland is primarily Finnish territory, there are northern parts of Russia that encompass it too. The excursions in the Russian Lapland feature interesting facts about the unique pattern of the birches and different shapes of Christmas trees.

An idea behind this name was taken from the existing attraction of the Kola Peninsula in the northernmost Murmansk region—the standing stones, also known as Sami Holy stones. The popularity of this sightseeing location is justified by the extraordinary construction, which creates the illusion of the rocks floating in the air, whereas, in fact, the large rocks are balancing on the smaller ones. 

Seita is another name for such rocks given by the Sami people as they believed that such a natural “accident” is not accidental and spirits must have been involved in the creation of this surprising construction. 

One of the holy rocks is located in Lapland’s forest. Considering such a close connection between the historical background of the Sami people and these lands, their culture and influence, the heads of the nature reserve in Lapland’s forest decided to recreate the Sami huts along with their national costumes and day-to-day wear. The main idea is to recreate the life of the Sami as it was hundreds of years ago. Of course, this task would hardly be achievable without help of the Sami people themselves, who know exactly how the ancient huts were constructed back then. 

At first glance, it may seem like that the construction materials like wood, brushwood, moss, sod, except maybe just the deer skins, are available in excess in the Murmansk region; however, it’s not that simple. 

The Sami people had mainly three types of huts, all of which were designed for different purposes. The permanent huts, called Vezha and Tupa, were universally used in different areas and temporary huts called Kuvaks used for the spring-summer migrations. All three of them used different materials and construction. Surprisingly, the main experts working on the project will be biologists, zoologists, and ecologists instead of historians and ethnographers. 

Even though the number of Sami people living in Russia today is below 2000, there are those who can speak Sami language fluently and who can be of real help when it comes to such a serious thing as recreation of the cultural objects. Sami history is shrouded in a veil of mystery since the number of myths exceeds the number of real historical facts, and the number of dialects and countries of residence are even more surprising. 

According to the idea of the project, the tourists will not only look at the Sami huts and cultural appliances as though in a museum, but they will also have a chance to become immersed in this unique culture by trying the national costumes on and holding objects in their hands. In other words, this project is meant to be not just a regular exhibition but rather a tangible experience or a trip to see the indigenous people of the Kola Peninsula.

The “In the land of Standing Stones” project is the winner of the charitable program competition called “The World of New Opportunities”, which is held annually by Nornickel, the Russian nickel and palladium mining and smelting company, in the regions where its plants are located. In fact, not all nature reserves are open to tourists, but luckily this one is.

A newly built ecological trail in Lapland’s forest leads directly to the future Sami huts. The location, combining several tourist attractions, is very advantageous. 

HT