The Brief History of Apukka

Hundreds of years ago the traditional Finns, the Sami-people, inhabited the coasts of lake Olkkajärvi. They called the place Apukka. In Apukka, the arctic nature provided the Sami-people with a great environment for reindeer farming, hunting, fishing and berry picking.

Apukka’s Tavern was mentioned for the first time about 150 years ago, in 1865. Apukka was an unbelievably good location for a tavern as it was a meeting point and the last stop before going to the wilderness of Lapland and on the road to the Arctic Ocean. Even at the time, guests and visitors noticed the remarkably visible Northern Lights in the area. The Tavern of Apukka was also especially famous for it’s horses, which were envied all around the region.

The Tavern’s triumph continued all the way to the 1930s when the Research Facility of Arctic Agricultural- and Ornamental Plants was established. Apukka was the perfect place to study and farm plants in the middle of the arctic climate and extreme conditions near water. The Research Facility of Apukka operated between 1938-2012.

Even after the facility began operating, travellers and local residents have been actively admiring the beautiful nature around Apukka. During the wintertime, groups of travellers have been escaping the light pollution and noise of the city of Rovaniemi to see the wonderful Northern Lights around the lake Olkkajärvi.

Because of this history, the idea of Apukka once again serving guests, and turning the old research facility into a Northern Light center, was born. We want to appreciate the strong presence of nature and old traditions as a part of Apukka’s innovative way of doing things. Our innovative ways can be seen in our program services and accommodations focusing around the Northern Lights and ice. Our ice buildings retell the old time style, and in the interior of our restaurant, the legendary Finnish horse of Apukka has not been forgotten.

Homey ice cabin in Finnish Lapland




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