Kontokki and Kostamus
Kuivajärvi and Hietajärvi

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What to see in Vuokkiniemi

Poetry collecting in Vuokkiniemi
What to see
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Statue of Miihkali Perttunen
Alpo Sailo's sculpture of the "Homer of the North". In the 1940s, Alpo Sailo used I.K. Inha's photograph (1894) to make the original sculpture. After sculptor Nina Sailo donated the plaster statue to Karelia in 1990, the statue was cast in bronze. The unveiling ceremony was held in Vuokkiniemi on September 1, 1991. The statue was erected by the Arhippa Perttunen Foundation.

The Ontsi House and Yard
During the era of Karelianism, the Ontsi House served as an inn in Vuokkiniemi. I.K. Inha and K.F. Karjalainen, among others, spent many nights at the Ontsi House. In 1991, the Karelian Ministry of Culture's Department of Restoration had the farm storehouses restored. For the past few decades, the house itself has been used as a dwelling and an office space.

The Sauna Shore
Karelian villagers traditionally built their saunas by the water. The Vuokkiniemi "sauna shore", which is still being used today, is now under protection. In the past, "black baths", that is, smoke saunas, prevailed. As time passed, however, "white baths" became more common. The sauna shore is also the public swimming area for the villagers.

Vuokkiniemi Church
As a result of excessive heating, the old church of Vuokkiniemi burnt down in 1939. At that time, the building was being used as a lunch room for the border guard detachment. The Revitalising Project of the Viena Karelian Folklore Villages aims to build churches or Orthodox chapels in all the villages on their former sites. The new structures would be designed to resemble the originals. In 1991, using historical photographs, the Arhippa Perttunen Foundation had the Karelian Ministry of Culture's Department of Restoration draw up a plan for the Vuokkiniemi Church. In 1993, during the traditional St. Elias's Day celebrations, the site of Vuokkiniemi Church was blessed as a site for worship once again. The construction of the church was undertaken by the Finnish Vuokkiniemi Society. They completed the building in the summer of 1997. On 2 August 1997, St. Elias's Day, the church was consecrated for worship.

The Vuokkiniemi Graveyard
The present graveyard is a reflection of the newer burial traditions deriving from Russia. According to old Viena custom, the graveyard was a sacred and untouchable place. Wherever a tree would fall, there it would rot. Even gathering twigs or berries in the graveyard was taboo. The kropnitsa, that is, the small house constructed on top of the grave, and the cross would gradually rot and once again become part of the natural cycle. The old graveyard of Vuokkiniemi met a tragic fate: A television tower now stands on the once sacred land.

Inha's Panoramic View of Vuokkiniemi
I.K. Inha photographed the Kuittijärvi shore of Vuokkiniemi from the slope of the ridge that divides the village.

The Main Road from Viena to Finland
Latvajärvi Road, which on the Finnish side of the border, turns into Raate Road (Raatteentie), was the arterial road to Finland from Viena one hundred years ago. Half a century later this road was travelled by the Red Army detachments who suffered great losses during the Winter War battles in Suomusalmi.

Vuokkiniemi School
Construction work on the Vuokkiniemi school complex was begun in the mid-1990s thanks to the initiative of the Revitalising Project. Due to a number of setbacks, however, carrying out the project has been difficult. Some of the problems were the result of the poor administrative practices of the City of Kostamus; others were the caused when Finnish contractors abandoned the project. Yet another problem was caused by the controversy over environmental protection of Vienansalo forest - a controversy which has nothing to do with the school, but nevertheless has impeded its construction.

Poetry collecting in Vuokkiniemi
What to see
Audio sample