Logotyp för Laponia


Jan Nilsson

Mythical marshes

Those who lived here knew where to go. There weren’t many roads to choose from, across the great marshes. Where it is nice to travel, it is not uncommon to find an old path. You may also find the old trail markers in the trees. The forest is so old that we can only guess when they were created.

Sjávnja is known as the land of bogs. In Europe, only Russia has such vast marshlands. Swans are the signature tune of this area, but there are countless numbers of birds mating and laying eggs on the endless marshes. On bright spring nights they sing songs.

But the 11-mile-long Sjávnja Nature Reserve is more than just miles of marshland. The further west you go, the higher the mountains get. In some places, the mountain walls rise straight up from the wetlands. The Unna tjerusj and Baste čearru sameby move between the mountains and the winter pastures in the forest. All around the nature reserve are their nesting sites. Some are still in use, others the land has started to reclaim.

For a long time, Sjávnja has also been inhabited by settlers who have built settlements in the eastern part of the nature reserve. Until 1940, they mowed the marshes to provide food for their livestock. The rivers and lakes provided fish, the marshes provided berries and the forest provided game to hunt. Today, no one lives here all year round, but the smoke still rises from the cottages.

Since 1996, Sjávnja has been part of the Laponia World Heritage Site.