Friday, 8 July 2011

In the Shadow of Saana

The best-known landmark of Kilpisjärvi is the fell of Saana. The Finnish KAIRA receiver station, which is currently under construction, lies immediately to the north in the shadow of Saana. KAIRA will be used for prototyping EISCAT_3D technology and it will hopefully one day become part of the larger EISCAT_3D incoherent scatter radar system.

The Saana fell has a very recognisable shape, and it plays an important role in the legend about how this region was formed. Yesterday we promised to tell Saana's story.

Legend has it, that giants lived in this area. One of them was grumpy Saana, who fell in love with lovely Malla. Eventually they were to be married by Paras, the magician, but another giant, Pältsä, wanted to stop the ceremony and summoned the evil witches of Lapland. Suddenly a fierce northern wind filled the whole area with ice and snow. In the very last moment, Saana rushed Malla to her mother, Great Malla. Then the cold took all life and the tears of Malla formed the lake Kilpis.

Thousands of years later, the ice melted and the giants were uncovered once again. Saana was grumpier than ever and Malla lay by her mother.

The brilliant colours of the autumn reflect the magnificient dresses of the guests at Saana's and Malla's wedding. The youngest of the giants sank to the bottom of the lake, and they are visible to this day as skeletons of pine trees.

Saana, Malla, and Great Malla are fells in Finland. Pältsä is a fell in Sweden, and Paras is a mountain in Norway. All of them are close to Kilpisjärvi. The word "Kilpisjärvi" means the Lake of Kilpis.

The photo shows Saana as seen from the centre of the village of Kilpisjärvi.

Photo: Sally Ulich.

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