193km (120 miles) N of Jokkmokk, 1,317km (818 miles) N of Stockholm

Covering more than 4,800 sq. km (1,853 sq. miles), Kiruna is the largest city in the world in terms of geography. Its extensive boundaries incorporate both Kebnekaise Mountain and Lake Torneträsk. This northernmost town in Sweden lies at about the same latitude as Greenland. The midnight sun can be seen here from mid-May to mid-July.

Unless drastic changes are made, Kiruna as we know it may not exist a few years from now. It's in danger of sliding down a hole left by the iron ore mines that put this Arctic outpost on the map a century ago. Before the earth swallows it up, Kiruna is going to have to be moved. Its railway station and new highway are being relocated first. At the moment, the town's inhabitants face no immediate threat from the hole carved out by mines more than a kilometer under their feet, but in the years ahead, many houses in the affected area will be loaded onto large trailers and moved to new and safer locations. Some of these buildings will be difficult to move -- City Hall, for example, will have to be cut into six pieces. A similar solution may have to be devised for the town's wooden church, dating back to 1913.


During World War II, iron ore from the mines here was exported to Nazi Germany, which did not earn "neutral" Sweden ever-lasting love from Norway, which suffered from Nazi oppression.