Kuhmo is a city of 10 300 inhabitants streching across to the Russian border. The Vartius international border crossing station is located in the northern part of the area.
There is a cultural event in Kuhmo every July with the international Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival and Ethno Music Festival Sommelo. Kuhmo Arts Centre provides a memorable setting for their concerts, but also for conferences, theatre and dance. The history of the Finnish national epic can be discovered in the national Information Centre for Kalevala and Karelian culture.
Among the fabulous scenery, the land of lakes, wolves, bears and wolverines, Kuhmo is the home of enterprising, hospitable and skilled people who invite tourists to enjoy the fishing in the solitude of the rapids, listen to the wolves howl, see the bears and simply relax.
Petola Visitor Centre provides an opportunity to study the life and habits of large carnivores without actually entering the forests. But we highly recommend you participate on the wildlife watching programme which gives you the chance to observe the animals in their natural environment. In addition to the magnificent experiences, the memories will stay with you forever.
More information about Kuhmo: www.kuhmo.fi
The Suomussalmi municipality is a reindeer herding area located north from Kuhmo bordering Russia to the east. The population is circa 10 000 people. Suomussalmi is a large county covering 5879 km of which 602 km are covered by over 3000 lakes and ponds. The varied, pure and rich natural surroundings provide many possibilities for enjoying one´s free time: including hiking, fishing, hunting, skiing, nature and wildlife photography and picking up forest berries and mushrooms on crispy autumn days.
Suomussalmi has a long and varied history. The oldest borderline in Europe between two nations, Finland and Russia, has existed here since 1595. One of the world famous wars, The Finnish Winter War (1939-1940) took place in these same taiga forests in arctic conditions. Today there are restored dugouts, trenches, fortifications, memorials and large exhibitions telling visitors and future generations about the Raate battles.
There are two Viena Karelian villages, Kuivajärvi and Hietajärvi, which are situated in the southeast part of Suomussalmi. You can visit the Domna House, a log house built in the Karelian style to honour the memory of the rune singers.
Environmental art can be seen along the side of the E-5 highway, where a startling army of strawheads – The Silent People, stops the travellers in their tracks. The unique Soiva Metsä “Musical Forest” is a forest filled with musical instruments which not only can be played but can be admired as true pieces of art. The instruments are scattered around inviting visitors to find them.
Suomussalmi is also proud of its traditions in the area of the crafts. Local artists display and sell their high quality wood, birchbark, ceramic and textile products at the Oilola handicraft display centre.
More information about Suomussalmi: www.suomussalmi.fi
Hossa - Combination of attractions and nature
Hossa is the commemorative national park for Finland’s 100th year of independence 2017. At the heart of the national park is the Hossa hiking area, but the new national park will also include the area of old growth forest Moilasenvaara and the unique canyon lake Julma-Ölkky. The official opening of the jubilee year’s national park was arranged in June 2017.
Hossa Hiking Area is an ideal combination of attractions and nature. The beautiful and tranquil area in the northern part of Suomussalmi has an abundance of waterways. The rivers, lakes and small rapids offer dozens of kilometers of canoeing routes of various levels of difficulty for beginners and experienced canoeists alike. One popular route passes the 4000 years old rock paintings from the Stone Age. The grand ridges and hills offer potential for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Or you can walk through age old forest and catch glimpses of the lakes beyond.
At the Hossa village there is a reindeer park, rental cabins, Karhunkainalo Camping ground, Hossa Visitor Centre, restaurant and rental services, as well as an exhibition which explains the history, livelihood and flora and fauna in the region. Safari and meal services are organized as required.
More information about Hossa: www.nationalparks.fi/hossa and www.hossa.fi.
CANOEING IN HOSSA
Hossa is one of Finland’s best canoeing destinations. The Hossa Hiking Area was voted the Finnish Outdoor Destination of the Year in 2011, when the theme of the competition was canoeing. A guide book Hossa Canoeing Guide provides information on routes in Hossa to make the canoeing trip safe and fun for both beginners and experienced canoeist. The guide has been published in Finnish and in English, and it is available for 5 € in the Hossa Visitor Centre and the Suomussalmi Tourist office.