The Jätkänkynttilä, or Lumberjack Candle Bridge
, is probably the most significant and easily recognizable landmark of the Rovaniemi cityscape. The bridge, which spans 320 meters across the Kemijoki
river, was opened to public transit on September 28th 1989, and is actually the first cable-stayed road bridge in all of Finland.
The concept for the bridge is the result of a 1982/83 design competition, with the subsequent winning design paying homage to the cities logging and lumberjack heritage. How exactly does it pay homage? At the top of two main columns of the bridge are 36 sodium fluorescent lights within 2 pillars, which are lit both at night and during the day, and symbolize the light of a 'lumberjack candle'
- a log that has been cut in quarters, or eighths (not completely split though) in which a fire is started in the middle. You can see an image of one here
. The log can be used as a light source, like a big candle as implied by its name, or also a make-shift stove to cook on. They were used by the lumberjacks of years past and are still used today by some outdoor recreation enthusiasts in the nordic countries (hunters, hikers, etc).
The bridges main pylons, or pillars, are reinforced by concrete columns , which have a diameter of about 2.3 meters. The top of the highest pillar is 47 feet above the bridge deck, and both pillars are supported by eight pairs of cable rope positioned in a fan shape.
Here are a few pics of the bridge when the river isn't completely frozen. The pink skyline is a view sometimes seen during the summer months as a result of Lapland's 'nightless nights'. There's also a video of what lumberjack candle looks like as it burns, to give you a better idea of the light and heat it produces.