Huffpost Travel

Sweden's Ice Hotel Plans Ice Mosque Near Arctic Circle

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Every year the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden sculpts a church out of pure ice and snow from the Torne River. But now an 'ice mosque' is the latest project for the iconic hotel, reports The Local.

Located just 125 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the famous Ice Hotel in Sweden's Lapland hosts 80 to 90 nationalities annually.

“We are open to everything and we practice freedom of religion here in Jukkasjärvi,” said Yngve Bergqvist, CEO of Ice Hotel, to local Swedish paper Norrländska Socialdemokraten.

"We have visitors from all over the world and many come from places like London or Saudi Arabia. We thought it might be a fun idea, seeing as we already have an ice church," Bergqvist added.

But there's no exact time frame for the ice mosque's construction yet. "It's definitely not happening this winter. We are still looking at the ice plans and we're only in the pre-planning phase of the mosque," said Camilla Bondareva, the hotel's spokesperson in a phone interview with The Huffington Post.

Imam Mahmoud Aldebe, head of the Swedish Muslim Association, said the idea has been well received reports the Telegraph.

“It would be a new way of seeking dialogue between different cultures and religions. Perhaps an imam could be there and tell tourists and other visitors what it means to be Muslim,” Aldebe told Norrländska Socialdemokraten.

Like the ice church, the ice mosque won't be an exclusive building and will only exist from December 23 until the end of April when the structures forming the hotel melt in the spring. About 150 couples marry each year at the ice church.

The first ice building was sculpted in 1990 in the Laplands, with the first guests arriving in 1992.

A team of artists and designers begin sculpting the hotel in November and each year they create a different theme and layout to evoke a new experience for guests.

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