There are about 2 000 lakes and two thirds of the area is covered by forest. North Karelia is a place where the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, was created and it continues to be a source of inspiration for many. It is a unique meeting point of the eastern and western cultures and religions. Koli National Park, the official Finnish National Landscape is one of the most famous attractions in Finland. The landscape seems to continue forever and ever. But the options don’t end there. North Karelia is filled with beautiful nature and has several other National Parks too.
Glimbse of the region
there is still so much more to know
North Karelia is the most eastern region of Finland. The population of North Karelia according to 2019 statics is app. 162 000.
76 000 of the people living in Joensuu, the capital city of the region.
The main industries in the region focus on forest, wood, provisions and tourism. You may recognize these North Karelian companies for example; Abloy Oy and John Deere.
North Karelia shares over 300 km of border line with Russia and therefore about one and a half million border crossings happens annually in Niirala.
On international level, these are some tiny facts that North Karelia is known for:
- Nurmes, the official city of Christmas carol of Europe
- Hattuvaara, Ilomantsi, the most eastern point of whole EU
- Joensuu, the location of European forest institute
Breaking the stereotype
Finnish people are often considered blonde, shy, introverted and even a little rude people.
In North Karelia the stereotype though is quite the opposite.
Kaarlo Hänninen wrote in 1929 that:
''Karelian is skinnier and taller. Eyes are darker, hair often brown and curly. By character Karelian is brisk, talkative and energetic. Karelian loves singing and playing''
One proof of that is the annual, one of the oldest, Finnish music festival Ilosaarirock. In 1971 when it was first held, it was located at Ilosaari – a tiny island next to the city center of Joensuu. Tickets were 3 markka (previous currency of Finland) and bands played on top of trucks. Nowadays Ilosaarirock is held on the other side of the city at Linnunlahti for larger venue. It has become one of the main summer events where people travel all over Finland. In 2018 Ilosaarirock hold 65 500 visitors!