The 1998 Spanish romantic film Lovers of the Arctic Circle (Los amantes del Círculo Polar), by director Julio Medem, partly takes place in Rovaniemi.
Periodic clearance of new land for agriculture and the practise of slash-and-burn cultivation began around 750–530 BC. Artifacts found in the area suggest that an increasing number of travellers from Karelia in the east, Häme in the south and the Arctic Ocean coast in the north must have come there from 500 AD onwards. The Sami are considered to be Lapland's most indigenous existing population.
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