Karelia, the most eastern province in Finland, fascinates with its vast, untouched, wild and romantic scenery. Yet this region has a lot more to offer as apart from the obvious allure of nature, there are also many cultural treasures to be discovered.
Despite its modern town centre, the historic origins of Kajaani, a town with around 36,000 inhabitants, dates back to the 17th century. It is especially proud of its most famous poet, Elias Lönnrot, who in 1835, published the Finnish national classic, Kalevala. One of the most striking buildings in the town is the large and towering Neo-Gothic Kajaani Church, that dates back to 1896.
Soapstone is of great economic importance for the 7,000 inhabitants of Juuka. Due to its exceptional heat-retaining properties, soapstone is well suited for many practical uses such as floor heating, ovens and fireplaces. Indeed, several renowned Finnish architects have immortalized the soapstone in various contemporary buildings and have thus added to its popularity.
The Kärimäen Kirkko, an amazing 19th century church in Kerimäki, is the largest timber built church in the Christian world. This impressive church that took only three years to erect, was built by the farmers of Kerimäki and can accommodate a congregation of more than 5,000.
With its maze-like dimensions that cover 4,300 square kilometres, Saimaa Lake is the fourth largest lake in Europe. Huge quantities of timber are slowly negotiated along the region’s lakes and rivers, as forestry has for many centuries been the region’s sole means of existence.
The unspoiled wilderness and natural beauty of the infinite lake land scenery of Karelia, makes it a place of irresistible charm and magical allure!