The ultimate mountain dwelling

Naturum Visitor Centre Laponia includes our settlement, a peat goahte, a guohte tent and a luovve, or storage rack, which all stand a stone’s throw from the building. Learn about what a goahte is, and about good manners and etiquette in the goahte. Here we also have storytelling sessions, and we bake gáhkko. 

The goahte tent is a mobile dwelling. The cloths and poles are easy to transport and can be quickly packed. The goahte tent is still in use in reindeer herding, above all during calf marking weeks in the summer. Nowadays many buy a manufactured goahte tent that can be packed up and taken along.

At Naturum Visitor Centre we also see the more stationary dwelling – the peat goahte. Peat goahtes were built on sites where people have lived for longer periods. The same building techniques were also used to build storehouses, goahte shelters for goats and goahte smoke huts and boathouses. Today peat goahtes have windows and often a wooden floor and stove. In the goahte tent, a thick layer of birch twigs is put down, both to insulate and to make it softer to lie and sit on.

The smoke hole is usually open, but when it rains or snows, the wind side is covered to keep out the wet. Even though the goahte is no bigger than 4 m in diameter, a large family with several children and some dogs can live there without it being crowded.

It is said that an inhabited goahte must always have a fire or embers. A goahte where the fireplace does not provide warmth is both cold and inhospitable.

The goahte is the perfect dwelling, the fire in the middle spreading warmth and the cloth round it like a protective skin against wind and weather. Nevertheless, you can hear everything going on outside, catch smells, feel the temperature and hear all the sounds of nature.

Greta Huuva, from the book Luondu lea mu gievkkan.

  • The peat goahte at Naturum Visitor Centre before its outer peat layer.
  • Peat is added to the goahte.
  • The peat is in place
  • Indoors.
  • Lassoing outside the goahte.