Kaaresuvanto – Gárasavvon
Entering Finnish Kaaresuvanto from Sweden
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Kaaresuvanto (Northern Sami: Gárasavvon, Swedish: Karesuando) is a village in the Enontekiö municipality of the Lapland region in northern Finland, located on the Muonio River which forms the border with Sweden.
On the Swedish side of the river the village of Karesuando, part of the Kiruna municipality, is located. According to Finnish tradition they are considered one and the same locality (with pop. about 470), though officially a national border is in between. Both sides are linked by a road bridge built in 1980. The area is traditionally Finnish and Sami speaking. After the Finnish War in 1809, the border was drawn for political reasons, not because of any cultural or linguistic reasons existing at that time. Later a cultural and language difference has grown because of school and church influence.
The village got its first buildings in 1670, when Måns Mårtensson Karesuando, called "Hyvä Maunu Martinpoika" in Finnish and "Good Maunu, Son of Martti" in English, bought land from Sami Henrik Nilsson Nikkas. The vicar and botanist Lars Levi Læstadius worked in Kaaresuvanto where he founded laestadianism movement named after him. In 1944 the area was burnt down by German troops during the Lapland War and had to be rebuilt afterwards.