Ivan the Terrible

Today's blog is inspired by world politics. It may seem that Snowhotel Kirkenes is at the world`s edge and in a political void. That couldn`t be further from the truth!

We have had a visit from Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, wife of Prime Minister Medvedyev, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, and many other ministers, ambassadors etc.

What is it about Kirkenes's location?

Of course, it's our neighbor that makes us so interesting. Our border with Russia is 196 km long. We are the Nato and Schengen border.

It was Ivan the Terrible – the Russian Tzar in the 1500s that first showed us his interest. He did not have soldiers enough to take the area, but used a different tactic;

He encouraged the church to build a monastery and place monks in the area. The church was interested in preaching the Lord's message to the Sámi indigenous people in the area.

Ivan the Terrible equipped monks with trade letters and only they could trade legally with the Sami. The first chapel was erected in 1575 at the Pasvik River, only a few km from the current Kirkenes. With this chapel he could claim that this was Russian country!

Not a shot was fired, not a life was lost. On the contrary, the Russian Church prioritized the Word of God in Sami language! The Sámi population was in many respects subject to Russia by the word of God.

It makes me think of today's rearmament, and belief in military power.

Ivan the Terrible was no friend of the Sami, but rather thinking "Russia First", and thinking of money and power.

However, he did it with more style than many of today's political leaders. No names mentioned.

Ivan IV Vasilyevich, who was called Ivan Grosny – the Terrible, was born in 1530 and died in 1584.

He ruled Russia with an iron hand, hence the name.

When I write about him in today's blog it is because he has had great significance for our history in Kirkenes.

He ruled a huge area. Partially without borders. Kåre Tannvik

Kirkenes February 2019


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Gründer Kåre Tannvik founded Snowhotel Kirkenes in 2006. He started out with a Lavvu, a reindeer and a handful of snow. In this blog he will tell you what stirs under the snow of the Snowhotel.