Me and the Holy Mountain

In an area where the amount of mountains is overwhelming it can’t be a surprise that they play an important role in our lives. The city of Tromsø is surrounded by mountains, and one of them plays a particular role. It is called Tromsdalstinden. Tind means peak, and it is one of the biggest with its 1238 meters above sea, lying near the center of the city.

tromsdalstind høst

Early autumn. Every time I cross the bridge I look right at the mountain.

Mountains can be the main reference point we relate to in our daily orientation. How is the weather, can we see the mountain today? It can contribute to create our living space both physically and mentally. Each year between 3000 to 5000 people write their names in a book on the top of this mountain. Several people have a goal to reach the peak’s top once a year. Tromsdalstinden is also a main subject for photography, laying there behind the city above all the houses. They echo each other, the city, the famous church and the mountain. Winter or summer, aurora, moonlight or midnight sun – this mountain is often situated in the photos. One photographer from the area one year took photos of the mountain every day and made an exhibition and a book afterwards, his name is Arvid Sveen .

For several years ago, people in Tromsø wanted to apply for the winter Olympics. In the program they would place the competition of the downhill slopes at Tromsdalstind. A story of Tromsdalstind as a Sami holy mountain appeared after a while. In Sami the name is Sálašoaivi, some of it means head, perhaps the main head in the area. The mountain had been a central part of the traditional Sami religion with offerings when passing by. It was a huge debate, but in Norway Sami stories is a valuable part of cultural heritage, even the intangible one. The downhill slope had to be moved. For many other reasons it never came to an application for the Olympics. But everyone now knows about the holy mountain.

tromsdalstind blå

Tromsdalstinden in December light

From my kitchen I see right at Tromsdalstinden. Every morning I look out and in some way say hallo. The world is the same, the mountains stand where they used to, my day can start and my life can continue as planned. I will not say this is the same for everyone, but nearly everybody relates to the mountains around us, talking about them, walking on them and looking at how the sun enter them. Many of us have our favorite ones. For now mine is Sálašoaivi.

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