In December 2006, I was visiting my parents in Kajaani and one morning I was browsing through the local news paper when I saw an article about a German guy and his Ukrainian fiance who live in Berlin. They were posing in front of the old town hall in the freezing weather, the bride was holding a bunch of flowers and was all dressed up in white. They had got married in the old town hall of Kajaani just a few moments before the photo was taken. Okay, I'm sure there are other more exotic places to tie the knot as well, but good for them.. Or perhaps good for Kajaani, right?
It turns out that the old town hall that always seemed so empty as if nothing was going on in there when I was a kid (the truth is nothing was going on between 1985 and 1990!) is nowadays is used civil weddings and small events. Although the building's location is very central, it seems slightly out of place. The town centre is a bizarre mix of a row of low rise buildings housing shops, banks and restaurants as well as a few high rise blocks of flats. When I was a kid the building used to be green, but it was painted with a sort of sandy-burnt yellow paint in 1990 during a complete restoration. Not the pretties choice of color, in my opinion, but the building itself is rather pretty. It is a small wood-built Cowrl-House and serves as a remarkable memorial to the craft building. It was was designed by a German architect Carl Ludvig Engel and built in 1831.
Carl Ludvig Engel (1778-1840) is known for his neo-classical (empire) style. His most noted works works include the buildings surrounding the Senate Square in Helsinki, including the Cathedral, the Palace of the Council of State (formerly The Senate), the main building of Helsinki University and the University library.
The Evangelic-Lutheran church in Kajaani is one of the finest examples of the new Gothic architectural movement, which originated in mid-18th century England. It was completed in about a year and it was consecrated the same year, in 1896.
The church is entirely made out of wood. It was designed by a Finnish architect Jacob Ahrenberg (1847-1914), who is one of the most notable designers of this particular style in Finland. Other significant creations of his include Langinkoski Imperial Fishing Lodge, Kotka (1889) (built for Alexander III, emperor of Russia and Grand Duke of Finland), the renovation and redecoration of the Finnish Prime Minister's Official Residence, Kesäranta (1904), two new reception rooms within the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, including The Hall of State (previously the Throne Room) (1907), Synagoga of Helsinki (1906), several churches, schools and garrison buildings.
The altar piece in the Evagelic-Lutheran church of Kajaani portrays Jesus and Saint Peter. It was painted by a local artist T.G. Tuhkanen in 1925. He is best known of paintings portraying the region and its residents.
The church was repainted and renovated inside in Autumn 2006. It is now much lighter and airier than it was previously.
Opening times in June-August, 7 days a week 10.00-20.00
Other times by arrangement with "Kajaani Info", tel. +358 8 61552555.
The Info guides speak English, Finnish, German and Swedish.
This picturesque wooden church was built in 1726. It houses highly valuable wall and ceiling paitings from the late 18th Century. The paintings were created by Emanuel Granberg. Over the years the paintings have suffered substantial damage caused by the leaking roof and have had to been restored twice in 1851 and between 1937-1942.
One of the best preserved paintings by Granberg portrays 'The Last Judgement'. It is located above the main entrance. The top part illustrates the joys of Heaven and the bottom the misery of Hell. A substantial part of the bottom bit was, however, painted over or completely removed most probably during the initial conservation of the original paintings in 1851, because it is thought that the female members of the communion found the pictures highly upsetting and allegedly some even fainted due to the shock and horror. ;-)
The painting in the front of the church at the altar was painted by Margareta Capsia. It depicts 'The Holy Communion' and it has been in the church since 1727.
The church has a seating for 800 people. There is no electricity or heating in the church. Regular services are usually organised in summer as well as in Christmas.
The church is open daily between 10am and 6pm from end of May to the end of August (give and take a few days). On any other times, please contact Kajaani Info tel. +358 (0)8-615 52555 and ask for a guide.
The ruins of Kajaani castle is the last medieval style fortification in the Nordic countries. Unlike its central European counterparts, it is not a royal or aristocratic castle, but its purpose was to protect Northern Ostrobothnia from Russians and oversee movements on the inland waterway. It also functioned as an administrative centre and a prison. The castle was built in 1604 on an island in the middle of Kajaaninjoki River.
The original drawings of the castle comprised a rectangular ring wall surrounding the castle yard, with round cannon towers on either side. The most famous inmate in the castle was historian, Johannes Messenius, who was charged with conspiracy in the Catholic Counter Reformation and lived in the castle from 1616 to 1635. During this, he wrote Scandia Illustrata, the history of the Nordic countries.
In 1950 Count Per Brahe ordered a second construction stage of the castle, which was completed in 1666. During this, many wooden structures of the castle were replaced with stone structures to form a fortress.
In 1716, Russian invaders surrounded the castle for several weeks. The 50 odd men defending the castle were forced to surrender due to lack of food, firewood and ammunition. They became prisoners of war in Russia and the invaders blew up the castle. The castle was restored to Sweden under the Treaty of Nystad in 1721.
Although conservation has been carried on periodically since the 1880s, the ruins have suffered serious damage and need urgent repairs. In addition, the locals started using the stones as foundations for their houses. Another drag about the ruins is that they are located underneath a concrete bridge that is commonly used by cars. Although there have been proposals to ban cars on the bridge, nothing concrete has happened yet.
The city of Kajaani and the National Board of Antiquities launched a development project for the ruins a few years ago now. The aim is to restore the ruins and make the surrounding area more attractive to visitors and residents alike.
Purola is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Kajaani. It is located on the south side of the river, next to pond “Kaupunginlampi” (the Town Pond). Its neighbour in the east is an area called Puistola, which also houses mainly detached wooden houses from the 1950s. Initially, the detached houses in Purola were occupied mainly by the staff of the paper and sawmill which functioned in Kajaani from 1907 up until 2008.
The old Mansard roofed houses remain from the old times. Although erroneously spelled, they are named after a French architect François Mansart who revived the interest in this style that had been characteristic of French Renaissance architecture. A mansard roof has two slopes on each of the four sides. The lower slope is steeper than the upper slope, which is usually not visible from the ground. Such roofs make maximum use of the interior space of the attic and is considered a practical way for adding a storey to an existing building. For this reason, older buildings were often remodelled with mansard roofs.
Under the influence of the Neo-baroque revival, the mansard became a common feature in many late 19th century buildings in Europe and North America. The houses in Puistola are most likely from the early 20th century although it is often difficult to specify the exact age of old buildings, since many of them have been renovated at different times.
The town plan in Puistola differs from the rest of the town. There are three U-shaped streets that dominate the area. Nowadays the area is mainly residential with quaint wooden detached houses. Walk along ‘Sissikatu’ once you reach the park on the side of the Town Pond. Bear left to the take and keep on walking until you reach the first U-shaped street, ‘Lamminkatu’. Turn right and keep on going until you reach ‘Makkolankatu’. Turn right again and walk back to the town passing the paper and saw mill along ‘Tehdaskatu’.
Have a look at Villa Koskikara.
After the partly destruction of the Kajaani Paper Company during the second world war, the management has built an official residence and reception rooms for its management. This is the villa Koskikara. Later the house was abandoned, but during its 'high time' it has seen prominent guests like Urho Kekkonen (the Finnish president who was the longest in this position) and Leonid Brezhnev, former President of the Soviet Union.
Nowadays the houses holds a restaurant (Ravintola 'Sirius').
Just opposite the tar channel you will find a monument for the Jaegers, an elite infantry troop. The Jaegers were volunteers who went for training to Germany during the first world war.
Kajaani was a center for the Jääkärit on their way towards and back from Germany. It is estimated that about 250 of them used the route through Kajaani.
Kajaani was well located at the transport route for tar towards Oulu. The tar was produced in the wide forests of middle Finland then on waterways transported via Kajaani, the lake Oulu (Oulujärvi) and Oulu river (Oulujoki) to the town of Oulu. There the main amount of tar was sold and exported to the big sea nations of Europe. The tar was used to make the wooden sailing boats water proofed.
The small house at the channel is the lock keepers home.
For info check ---> here...
Elias Lönnrot was a doctor in Kajaani, who formed the Finnish identity by travelling and collecting poems and stories from the people of Karelia. He finished his work, the Finnish national epic Kalevala in 1835. In case you can read Finnish, have a look here: Kalevala in Project Runeberg.
Two flag days, day of Kalevala (February 28) and Day of the Finnish language (April 9), honor Elias Lönnrot.
Just a few steps away from the town square with its old city hall you will find the castle ruins of Kajaaninlinna. The ruins are nowadays located under a bridge, which is not giving a sight as expected of an old ruin. But looking at the history of the castle as ruin, it has for a long time been a stepstone to get over the river.
According to wikipedia, the castle is the smallest stone castle in Europe and the northern most of the world.
Have a look at the beautiful Kajaani Lutheran church designed by Jacob Ahrenberg.
The church is well reachable by foot from the old city hall in the center of town.
I haven't been inside, but check --->here!
Find all necessary information for a visit at VisitFinland, linked below.
The Railway Station of Kajaani was built between 1904 and 1905, when the railway tracks where extended all the way from the town of Iisalmi (100km to the south of Kajaani) to the remote town of Kajaani. The building was designed by architect Karl Gustaf Nyström (1856-1917), who was the last significant representative of academic Neo-Renaissance in Finland.
His main works in Helsinki are the National Archives of Finland, the House of Estates, the Union Bank, the customs warehouse and the market hall in the South Harbour. In addition, he designed buildings for the University of Helsinki and two branches of the Bank of Finland to Viipuri and Turku, where he also designed an art museum.
On the initiative of Gustaf Nyström work was began at the turn of the 20th century to make measuring drawings of historical monuments, starting with Turku Castle and Turku Cathedral. Nyström's teaching work and his preference of authentic materials had a crucial role in the breakthrough of National Romanticism in Finland.
Kajaani railway station has been said to be the most beautiful railway station in Finland, and it is under a special protection culturally and historically. The building was fully renovated a few years back and houses several original features such as the tall fireplaces that reach the sealing. There is also a waiting room, a small cafe and ticket office.
Kajaani was previously located on an important water way through which goods (in this case, barrels of wood tar which in demand in continental Europe, where it was used as a sealant and an anti-rot agent for ship hulls) were transported to the coastal town of Oulu and from were they were taken onwards to other countries by boats. In the 19th century, Oulu became the leading exporter of wood tar in the world. Annually about 24,000 barrels were transported through Kajaani.
Because at the time, the Kajaani river was flowing freely and there were two rapids that prevented boats to continue their journey uninterrupted, a horse drawn carriage was used to take the barrels past them. In 1838, the city decided to built locks that would make transportation easier. The locks were in use by 1846. In 1904, a railway was extended to Kajaani and the locks were no longer needed. In addition, by 1915 the canal was in such a bad shape that a decision was made to close it. There is no longer a lock in the place where the Koivukoski hydroelectric power station is now located, but the lock at Ämmänkoski rapid survived and was throughly renovated in the early 1980s.
The lock keepers cottage was built in 1880 and served as the lock keepers house. During the WWI the cottage was also used as a resting place for soldiers. The cottage was previously located nearer to the lock, but was moved a few meters further away from it due to the renovation works at the lock. The cottage features a photographic exhibition of the history of the transportation of tar and the lock. The cottage is open in summer. Admission free.
In summer, there will be demonstrations how the boats would have been able to go through the lock. The people doing the demonstrations are also wearing authentic clothing. There is also an old boat next to the lock that was used to transport tar barrels from Kuhmo to Kajaani.
Kajaani Art Museum is located in a building that originally used to serve as a police station. The one and only cell downstairs has been preserved as it was in its original condition and may also be used to accommodate exhibits. A fenced yard outside its northern wing leads to the old Town Hall. The building was designed by architect Eino Pitkänen and it was completed in 1936 in pure functionalist style. In 1993, the police moved to another location and the art museum was established.
The exhibition space is over two floors and provide altogether 300m2 of exhibition space. Each year, the museum arranges approximately five changing exhibitions of foreign and domestic art.
At the present moment, the collection comprises 639 works by 99 different artists and it concentrates on Finnish art works from the 80s and 90s. Important series of works within the collection include those by Juhana Blomsted, Carolus Enckell, Outi Heiskanen, Tapio Junno, Pauno Pohjolainen, Kain Tapper and Nina Terno. Significant artists from the region of Kainuu include H. Ahtela, Helvi Hyvärinen, Matti Koskela, Jaakko Leppänen and Kaarlo Mikkonen.
Over the last few years, the growth of the collection has chiefly been a result of donations by local artists such as Matti Koskela who donated his entire output of graphics to the museum, Kaarlo Mikkonen contributed miniature sculptures and Ilkka Väätti both sculptures and paintings. The museum is also responsible for the collection of the City of Kajaani, which consists mainly of works by regional artists displayed in various public buildings in the city.
There is a doorbell for disabled customers beside the main entrance. Unfortunately, there is no elevator to the exhibition rooms on the second floor though. The museum has chairs in the exhibition rooms for resting. Prams for small children are available free of charge.
Opening hours: Sun-Fri 10-17, Wed 10-20, Sat closed
Kindergarten and school groups: Admission free
Admission free on Wednesdays between 16.00 and 18.00
The statue of a Swedish count called Per Brahe is situated on the side of the market square near 'Anttila' department store. Kajaani was founded by Per Brahe in 1651. At that time, Finland was ruled by Sweden, and the King decided to send Per Brahe to civilise and develop the backwards country and the folk. During his time in Finland, Per Brahe reformed the administration, introduced a postal system, improved and developed commerce and agriculture. He also founded only about 9 other towns in Finland at this time, so he must have been a pretty busy man.
The Market Square is a venue for various events such as a beach volley tournament, annual Christmas market and annual Autumn market (in the beginning of September). In summer time, they sell things like strawberries and various vegetables on the market square and there is also a small cafe where you can buy coffee very early in the morning and enjoy the quietness of the town.