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Etusivu / North Karelia / Culture and history

Cultural Holidays across North Karelia

North Karelia has many images in people’s minds. It is known as the region of music and songs, in whose forests almost constant wars took place over the supremacy of Karelia for centuries. Today North Karelia invites you to enjoy its rich cultural heritage and provides opportunities for perfect holidays.

The rich culture of North Karelia will excite everyone. According to your choice, unique folk runes, local cuisine, handicrafts, the development of industry, transport, arts as well as many wars of the region will be of special interest. Museums, theaters, churches and religious places are open for their viewers and worshippers.

Wild North Karelian nature, modern architecture and rich cultural heritage are harmoniously mixed. North Karelia, the region of music and songs welcomes travellers yearning for new cultural discoveries.

The history of North Karelia

The region of North Karelia has been inhabited by Karelians for over a thousand years. The region worked as a cultural bridge between East and West via the Northern trading route that stretched from Ladoga as far as to the Gulf of Bothnia and Sweden.

The history of North Karelia has been greatly affected by its position under the influence of two realms and religions. In 1323 the whole area of North Karelia remained under the administration of Novgorod as the result of the peace treaty of Pähkinäsaari between Sweden and Novgorod. In 1478 Russia became united and so Novgorod together with North Karelia became a part of the Russian Empire. During the Russian rule the Orthodox faith spread to North Karelia. Mission work was conducted from the monastery of Valamo, which is now situated in Heinävesi.
Sweden continued her attacks in the course of the 15th and 16th centuries, and therefore Russia declared war on Sweden in 1570. This war is called “the Long Wrath” lasting for 25 years. At the beginning of the 17th century Russia was unsettled. Sweden benefited from that confusion and conquered the area including the present-day area of Joensuu in addition to other areas. During the Swedish rule the Lutheran population spread to North Karelia. In 1809 (The Peace Treaty of Hamina) the whole of Finland was annexed to be a part of Russia – a grand duchy. Nikolai I, the emperor of Russia founded the town of Joensuu in 1848. In 1960 the province of North Karelia was established. Since the year 1997 the region of North Karelia has belonged to the province of Eastern Finland.

Koli is the national landscape, national park, a tourist area, downhill and cross-country skiing destination, the highest point in southern Finland, a geological landmark, the merger of Finnish culture. site tells about the area's services, offerings and events.
Explore is a sister site of offers all Russian Karelia tourism offerings within your reach in all its beauty and all the opportunities.