Karelia has been part of Finland since independence in 1917 but previous to this the country was ruled by both Sweden and Russia, with the Karelian border being repeteadly redrawn through the centuries, most recently after World War II.
Lieksa’s Pielinen Museum
, the second largest open air museum in the country, traces the development of local building styles over the last 300 years through a collection of about 70 wooden buildings. Well worth a visit for anyone interested in history or architecture.
, the creation of sculptress Eva Ryynänen (1915-2001), consists of her home, studio and a magnificent chapel made of red pine, all displaying a wealth of her carvings in massive wood.
, lying near the Russian border, is a seemingly idyllic piece of Finnish countryside but has an industrial history displayed by the local ironworks museum standing on the banks of Koitajoki River. The surrounding area was also the scene of fierce fighting during World War II, signs of which can still be found.
you’ll find a collection of historic buildings based on the theme of local tradition. These include Runopirtti, with handicrafts, traditional music, and exhibitions; Rajakenraalin maja, a wartime operational headquarters; Parppeinpirtti Restaurant, with a Karelian menu; and the Tsasouna, a small Orthodox chapel. Runopirtti also includes the permanent collection of the Kalevala epic in multiple translations.