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Reference on historical and cultural features of Suojrvi region

The region is located in the western part of South and Middle-Karelia and has an extensive border on Finland. Wärtsilä international check point is located 10 km from the border of the region and 190 km from Suojärvi that offers good opportunities for orientation of tourist flows from Scandinavia to the region. The region has railway and highway connection to Sortavala, Petrozavodsk, Kostomuksha, the regionwide transport network is presented by improved soil motorways.

Nature of the is beautiful and diverse. There are many heights, fanciful rocky, moraine and esker ridges alternating with extensive marshlands and smooth lake surfaces. The latter are many, however, they are mainly presented be small wood pools. Rivers are many, too, about half a thousand, including upper reaches of the two largest rivers of Karelia - Shuya and Suna. Tolvojärvi lake and river system which is the center of the landscape reserve of the same name, formed on the area of 44 thousand hectares makes a natural pearl of this land. Numerous lakes are divided by narrow sand and float stones ridges covered by beautiful pine forests. Alongside with usual kinds of fish - roaches, perches and pikes measuring up to rather large size, large whitefishes, burbots, ides and breams are found. The reserve's sight, alongside with lakes, are magnificent esker ridges which height measures up to 15-20 m, and length - from 4,5 to 16 km. Ecological tourism actively develops in territory of the reserve. Scientists of Karelian Research Center of the Russian Academy of Science have laid 7 tourist routes here which length makes from 5 to 10 km.

Historical and Cultural Potential

Historical destiny of the is related to its frontier location and numerous Swedish attacks. In the settlement of Porosozero there is a rock which untill now has kept the name of the Swedish Stone. Under the legend, Karelian conductor has overturned there a boat with Swedish soldiers. Suojärvi region is the native land of many Karelian rune-singers. In first half of the XIXth century, besides Elias Lönnrot, there have been many collectors of folklore. Important centers of national narrating were villages of Korpiselkä and Tolvojärvi. There lived rune-singers from dynasties of the Shemeikkas and the Vornanens.

In the region there still remained villages with traditional Karelian site development. Among them there is the village of Veshkelitsa located on the coast of seven small lakes. Lay of the land is rather broken, with significant differences in heights and abrupt coastal slopes. It adds exclusive picturesqueness to the settlement. On the hill in the center of the village there is the Chapel of St. George of the XVII century possessing the status of architectural monument of the all-Russian value. The village is the center of historical and cultural territory of northwest Livviks. Now it is actively involved in the tourist turn.

The region was the high-intensity battlefield in the last war. Especially persistent battles were waged at Kollasjärvi heights near the station of Loimola. Up to now there remained the rests of defences: trenches, entrenchments, obstacles, pillboxes, dugouts, shelters. There are common graves of the Soviet, Finnish and German soldiers, and memorable signs are established. Now there is the Kollasjärvi military memorial complex, dramatized operations at participation of military history clubs are held. Tourists from the adjacent countries are invited to such events. In total in the region there are 137 cultural and historical objects registered. It also provides the basis for development of cultural cognitive tourism in the territory.

Reconciliation Holiday Meeting at the Native Land

In 1940 in Moscow the Soviet-Finnish peace treaty has been concluded having underlined Soviet conditions and offers by results of which the Soviet-Finnish border has been moved from Leningrad 150 kilometers towards Finland and Karelian sthmus has been included in the USSR with Vyborg, as well as Ladoga Northwest Coast with the station of Suojärvi and the town of Sortavala.

Therefore, in these territories citizens of Finland have left burial places of their fathers and great-grandfathers, farms where their ancestors lived, sometimes only bases of their native houses to which at Finns have a great attraction and reverence. When people were leaving their native houses they were sure that were not leaving for long, so that when the Soviet soldiers came into the houses, they found dinner in the oven, furniture, utensils, and photos in the house. In Finland immigrants from these places had to start anew their lives broken by the war. All their lives they lived near the border, at hand from their native land which after the Winter war became out-of-reach to them. Therefore, when the territory of Suojärvi region was not a closed regime zone any more and borders have opened, Finns have gained an opportunity and a great desire to visit these places.

In many settlements, such as Suistamo (before the war there lived 5000 people) houses and utility structures remained, and former owners can still find something there, but on the majority of places bases remained. Marvellous church dedicated to St.Nicholas in the settlement of Suistamo is famous for being built on the rock with no base. Beside, near are the priest's large house, and the ancient cemetery where Pedri Shemeiko, Ivan Shemeiko, Matjö Plattonen (famous rune-singers) are buried.

Sooner or later, but everyone's soul begins searching for the childhood memories, which have direct connection with songs, games, ceremonies, dances, lifestyle and conditions of life. This can not be found in modern Finland, but in the historical native land where everything reminds of the past, even the smell of soil roads has remained the same. For Finns it is an opportunity to come back to the happiest time of their life. In June in these former Finnish territories there was a traditional holiday which has later transformed into the Native Land Holiday.

Strengthening of contacts with the Finnish neighbours is of great importance for local population. Exchange of cultural values, adjustment of partner relations, creation of common programs - all this leads to teaching inhabitants of frontier territories to be tolerant.

Rich cultural heritage based on the interlacing of Karelian and Finnish cultures, presence of various national ensembles, opportunities to build a system to produce and sell souvenir products, rich wood and ecologically pure natural resources, perfect climate - everything indicates that there are good opportunities for the festive culture development.

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Created: November 14, 2002. Last updated: February 9, 2009.
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