The Swedish city of Luleå, the capital of its northernmost Norrbotten County, is rolling on with plans to house what has been described as “the northernmost mosque in the world”.
Norrbotten's Islamic Centre is behind the idea. The plans to build a mosque in Hertsön, Luleå's largest residential area located outside the inner city and on the island of Hertsön, have been around since 2013.
Now, the organisation plans to realise it in a much slimmed-down format with a much smaller budget.
“Previously, we had plans to build a huge building at a very high cost. The real cost had been around SEK 100 million ($10 million). Now it will be SEK 12 million ($1.2 million)”, Norrbotten Islamic Centre Chairman Hesham Ahmed told national broadcaster SVT.
The money will be collected from fellow Muslims across Sweden online through “microfinancing”. So far, the plot on Hertsön remains empty.
Luleå has roughly 50,000 inhabitants in its urban core and a total of 76,000 residents in the municipality as a whole. It houses a major harbour for shipping goods and a formidable steel industry that earned it the nickname “Steel City”. It it is home to Sweden's northernmost university.
However, even if the money is gathered and the construction plans materialise, the Luleå Mosque still won't wrest the title of the world's northernmost mosque from the Nurd Kamal Mosque situated in Norilsk, Russia, as Luleå is located much farther to the south. Norilsk is the world's northernmost city with over 100,000 inhabitants. Located in the northern part of Krasnoyarsk Krai in Eastern Siberia, above the Arctic Circle, east of the Yenisei River and south of the western Taymyr Peninsula, its mosque is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the most northerly-situated one in the world.
The architecture of the mosque has been adapted to the extreme climatic conditions of the Far North that include permafrost and harsh winters where temperatures below 40 degrees and blizzards are not uncommon. For instance, Norilsk's minaret tower, which is generally supposed to have a round shape, has a square base to offer more resistance to wind.