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Sweden's Ice Hotel Plans Ice Mosque Near Arctic Circle

The Huffington Post     First Posted: 10/19/11 03:08 PM ET   Updated: 12/19/11 05:12 AM ET

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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  • Ice Hotel

    Entrance to the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi in Northern Sweden. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/charley1965/2133675521/" target="_hplink">charley1965</a>/Flickr

  • Ice Hotel Church

    Courtesy of ICEHOTEL

  • Ice Hotel Church

    Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/bjaglin/423070238/" target="_hplink">bjaglin</a>/Flickr

  • Ice Hotel Church

    Courtesy of Icehotel Artists: Cindy Berg, Marjolein Vonk, Jan Willem van der Schoot and Marinus Vroom Photo: Ben Nilsson/Big Ben Productions

  • Ice Hotel Wedding

    Shivering more from excitement than cold, a bride clad in white silk and fur all but melts into the snowy background on January 9, 2009 as she and her groom become one of around 150 couples to tie the knot at Sweden's Ice Church that year. OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images

  • Ice Hotel Wedding

    Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/spinkney/5531840312/" target="_hplink">S J Pinkney</a>/Flickr

  • Ice Hotel

    A hallway in the ice hotel. The temperature in the bedrooms is a constant -5°C or 25°F. OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images

  • Ice Hotel Bedroom

    Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/bjaglin/423069981/" target="_hplink">bjaglin</a>/Flickr

  • Ice Hotel Bedroom

    Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicholasjones/5312314743/" target="_hplink">whale05</a>/Flickr

  • Ice Hotel Bedroom

    Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/bjaglin/423069829/" target="_hplink">bjaglin</a>/Flickr

  • Ice Hotel Bar

    Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/charley1965/2133672885/" target="_hplink">charley1965</a>/Flickr

  • Ice Hotel

    The world-famous Ice Hotel in Jukkasjaervi, outside Kiruna in northern Sweden, is melting away 21 May 2005. With summer arriving, the Midnight Sun will be the dominate force above the Polar Circle from 29 May. When next winter comes a new hotel will be built where visitors from around the world can spend their nights in beds, in rooms at sub-zero temperatures. SVEN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images

  • WATCH: Sweden's Ice Hotel

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