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Reference on historical and cultural features of Lahdenpohja region

Territory of Lahdenpohja region is located in the southwest of Karelia between Ladoga lake, Leningrad region and Finland. Favourable geopolitic position of the region is supplemented with well developed transport infrastructure – highways, railways and waterways. In the near future it is planned to open the Parikkala international check point through which transport streams from Helsinki direction will go.

Lahdenpohja region is located in the most optimum agroclimatic zone of Karelia and its natural landscape are very attractive. There are all opportunities to develop resort complexes there – the region can become the republic's health resort. Relief of the region is quite split: numerous hills and ridges alternate rather narrow fields and meadows, valleys of rivers and streams. In the coastal strip of Ladoga there formed a picturesque natural complex of skerries, representing a lace of numerous islands, capes, gulfs and passages. In the skerries there are many rocky outcrops, though also there are sandy and pebbly beaches. Skerries are an ideal place for a laying water and overland ecological routes, organization of fishing tourism. Now skerries represent the zone of wild tourism extremely dangerous for condition of natural complexes yielding no economic return to the region. The situation may only change if a natural or national park is created of which organization project is already prepared.

Historical and Cultural Potential

The region has rich history. Becoming the Karelian nation passed there. Available annalistic sources, researches of the Russian and Finnish scientists, archeological excavations testify to it. However, frontier location of the territory led to numerous military attacks during the long historical period which have erased material traces of local culture. Numerous sites of ancient fortress settlements, which ancient Karelians built on tops of hills have made an exception in this case. Sometimes may be interesting sights for tourists. Architectural monuments in the region are not many and are dated to the end of the XIX – beginning of the XX centuries, i.e. the Finnish period. These are mostly industrial objects – shops, schools, Lutheran churches, etc. located mainly in Lahdenpohja, possessing the status of historical town of republican value. It gives an opportunity to offer interesting sightseeing tours there.

The Karelian Nest project was implemented in 2004 – 2005 in territory of the region. It represented strategy of using monuments related to the origin of the Karelian ethnos. The settlement of Kurkijoki is located on the coast of the gulf of Ladoga lake. This is a place with interesting landscapes, magnificent nature, picturesque views, favorable climate. Undoubtedly, it attracts tourists. Especially, considering the fact, that the settlement is situated in the weekend recteation zone of such giant as St.-Petersburg. Besides, the territory possesses such unique cultural resource as geographical center of the Karelian ethnos formation.

The period of the I millennium CE was the time of intensive development Northern Ladoga lakeside and settlement of various Finno-Ugric tribes over this territory. Many researchers connect it with migration of Finnish tribes to the north. Thus, the tribe of Ves had come to the south of Ladoga lake, and Korela – to the north. During this period there was built a large settlement on the spot of the modern settlement of Kurkijoki and a powerful fortresses on Linnavuori mountains on the coast of Kurkijoki river and in the gulf of Kurkijoki for protection of Karelian settlements from the vikings' attacks.

Archeologic works in the territory of Lahdenpohja region and the settlement of Kurkijoki accomplished by Finnish (T.Shvindt, A.Hejkel, J.Apelgren, P.Uino) and Russian (A.N.Kirpichnikov, S.I.Kochkurkina, A.I.Saxa) researchers, confirm that territory of Northern Ladoga lakeside and area of the settlement of Kurkijoki represent the center of formation of the Karelian ethnos.

During the period of their residing in Northern Ladoga lakeside Karelians have created a rather rich layer of material and spiritual culture. Many archeologic discoveries testifies to long existence of quite large settlements in the territory of the settlement of Kurkijoki, and numerous finding of treasures illustrates trade development of Northern Ladoga lakeside.

Unfortunately, now this fact is not very famous, as there is very little information on this issue for the wide public. Therefore, to popularize this fact and create the image territory of native land of Karelian people the Karelian Nest project has been developed. Within its framework a festival is held in the settlement of Kurkijoki. It includes the fair of national arts and crafts, dramatized opening performance, competition of spear throwers (for the large and tall people), fights at participation of the Styag club of fans of military history and club of militarians reconstructors from of St.-Petersburg, concerts of folklore ensembles.

The region also has certain traditions in celebrating orthodox holidays of Christmas, Easter, Trinity, and the Pancake festival. It is also necessary to note activity of Kurkijoki local history center, and a number of its most interesting projects Legends in Stone, East Way of Vikings, The Plantain Guidebook, Annalistic Korela republican camp, the web-site of Kiryazh.

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Created: December 11, 2006. Last updated: January 16, 2009.
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