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Kuusamo is a town and municipality of Finlandmarker.

It is located in the province of Oulumarker and is part of the Northern Ostrobothniamarker region. The municipality has a population of ( ) and covers an area of of which is water. The population density is .

The municipality is unilingually Finnish.

Kuusamo is a major center for winter sports and receives approximately a million tourists every year. One of the largest ski resorts in Finland, Ruka, is situated in Kuusamo. Ruka is also the host of many international competitions in ski jumping, cross country skiing and nordic combined. World championships of Freestyle Skiing in 2005 was held in Kuusamo. Kuusamo Airportmarker is located north-east from Kuusamo town centre.


Sami settlement

Initially, until the 17th Century, the area of Kuusamo was inhabited by the semi-nomadic Sami. During the cold season they lived in the villages Maanselkä and Kitka. In spring they moved to the rivers and in summer, after the melting of the ice, to the lakes; there they fished and gathered berries and mushrooms; in autumn they hunted reindeer, bears and beavers in the forrest. Apart from fishing and hunting the Sami earned their living by trading fur with the Finns settled on the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia and the Karelia of the White Sea coast.

As Sami settlement the area belonged to Kuusamo Kemi-Lappmark at the time. Nominally it belonged to the territory of the Swedish province of Västerbotten, but the Swedish rule was limited to the collection of taxes. At the same time Russia collected tax in the terretory it deemed state-less.

Swedish domination

Since 15th Century also took advantage of the lower reaches of the river Iijoki-based Finnish fishermen fishing grounds Kuusamos. They took regular trips from a few weeks after Kuusamo, but because it is in the area other than on the middle reaches of the river was not Iijoki the hay for the cattle would have to deliver, they found no fixed settlements. Only when the Swedish government in 1673 all settlers Lapland for 15 years tax exemption granted, began to settlers from Savo and Kainuu in Kuusamo settle. They operated and started shifting with the burning of forests. This was mainly due to the hunting-based life form of seeds at risk. The Sami population was approved by the Finnish settlers assimilated within a few decades or ousted. Already in 1718 there were only two Kuusamo Sámi families that even the Finnish language had taken over.

The first parish in Kuusamo was founded in 1685. 1687 was a temporary chapel, 1695, the first church. Since the end of the 17th Century began, the area after the lake Kuusamojärvi Kuusamo ones. The precise etymology of the name is unclear, however, a possible derivation of a Sami name for "spruce forest".

The Swedish–Russian border was already in the 1595 Peace of Teusina east of Kuusamo been withdrawn, but was not exactly a long and porous. With the constant influx of new settlers Kuusamo grew in the 18th Century steadily. Instead of nomadic cropping occurred after agriculture, cattle and reindeer breeding. Kuusamo around 1770 had about 2,000 inhabitants. 1775 was from Kuusamo Lappmark resolved and the newly formed province of Oulu added. Because of the population had increased from 1797 to 1804 a new, larger church to be built. Beginning of the 19th Century was the mark of 3000 inhabitants, which is a famine in 1803 and a smallpox epidemic decimated the following year but the population again.

Russian domination

Town centre
In 1809, Kuusamo, as with the rest of Finland, came under Russian rule. In the first half of the 19th century, the area was ravaged several times by devastating famine and epidemics. Kuusamo was spared by the catastrophic crop failure in 1867, and its population grew steadily thereafter. By 1886, 7,000 people inhabited the city; by 1894, that number grew to 8,000. With the advent of forestry at the end of the 19th century, workers moved into the area, so Kuusamo 1910 a population of 10,500 reached. 1868, the parish Kuusamo in Finland's administrative reform in a political community transformed.

Since independence

After the independence of Finland in 1917, the Russian border is closed and Kuusamo so cut off from its hinterland. Now there was no more wood to raft from Kuusamo to the ports on the White Sea, which for the forestry sector was a major setback. Even the reindeer economy suffered that some of the herds on the wrong side of the border had remained. Therefore, developed in the period between the wars in agriculture the most important economic factor. Until 1925 the population rose to 14,634, next year but it fell through the detachment of the villages and Posio Suolijärvi Kuusamo from around 2000.

At the start of the Winter War Kuusamo was evacuate in December 1939 for fear of a Soviet invasion. In the peace of Moscow, the Winter War on 14 Ended March 1940, Finland had next to large parts of Karelia, the eastern areas of Salla and Kuusamo to the Soviet Union. The ceded part of Kuusamo had an area of 1653 square kilometers and included the villages Paanajärvi, Tavajärvi, Vatajärvi, Enojärvi, Pukari and Kenttikylä. Its 2100 residents had in other parts Kuusamos be relocated. During the Continuation War of 1941-1944 Kuusamo was used as a supply depot by German and Finish troops. When it appeared that Germany might lose the war, Finland secretly negotiated a separate peace with the Soviet Union. After news of the armistice, the civilian population once again abandoned the town for fear of Russian occupation. The Russians did briefly occupy Kuusamo and burned the village to the ground upon their departure.

In the years between 1945–1952 Kuusamo was rebuilt. By the late '60s, the population grew to almost 21,000 at. As agriculture in the village but not enough jobs for the baby boomer generation could offer, began a rapid decline in the population, up to an intermediate stage of consolidation in the 80s to this day. In 1954, a first ski run on the Rukatunturi have been created. Through the expansion of the Ruka ski center developed Kuusamo result in a tourist center. In 2000, the municipality of Kuusamo to the city.


The center of Kuusamo is only a small part of the area of the municipality. Kuusamo lies in the east of Finland in Oulu Provincemarker on the border with Russiamarker. The neighboring municipalities of Kuusamo are Suomussalmimarker in the south, Taivalkoskimarker and Posiomarker in the west, Sallamarker in the north and Russia in the east. The nearest large towns qre Rovaniemimarker, north-west, and Oulumarker southwest. The distance to the capital Helsinkimarker is .

Kuusamo covers an area of of which is water. The community center of Kuusamo, where nearly two-thirds of the population live, is only a small part of the territory. The rest of the area consists of the sparsely populated, mostly wooded surroundings. Therefore, the population density of Kuusamo is only . Apart from the city, villages include Alakitka, Heikkilä, Hiltunen, Irni, Jokilampi, Kallunki, Kantokylä, Kemilä, Kero, Kesäniemi, Kiitämäjärvi, Koskenkylä, Kuolio, Kurvinen, Kärpänkylä, Käylä, Lämsänkylä, Maaselänkylä, Murtovaara, Poussu, Puutteenkylä, Rukajärvi, Määttälänvaara, Soivio, Suorajärvi, Tammelamarker, Teeriranta, Törmäsenvaara, Vasaraperä, Virrankylä, Vuotunki, Lehto and Kiviperä.

Landscape and Nature

The city lies on a roughly 250-meter-high plateau, from which the waters flow in five directions. In the area of Kuusamo there are many hills (finn. vaara) and fells (finn. Tunturi). The highest elevations are Valtavaara (492 m), Kuntivaara (481 m), Iivaara (469 m) and Rukatunturi (462 m) with the Ruka ski center.
Marshland near Liikasenvaara
90% of the land area is forested. Among the pine trees there before (70%), also grow in the forests of pines (20%) and deciduous trees (10%). . , representing 14% of the area Kuusamos be covered by water. The largest of the 166 lakes in the area of Kuusamo are Joukamojärvi, Kiitämä, Kitka, Kurkijärvi, Kuusamojärvi, Muojärvi and Suininki. The rivers Oulankajoki, Kitkajoki, Kuusinkijoki and Pistojoki flowing eastward in the White Sea, the Iijoki to the west in the Gulf of Bothnia.

The Oulanka National Parkmarker is located on the territory of the northern Kuusamo and Salla neighboring municipality. The landscape of pine forests, the Oulankajoki and its side branches with its sandbanks and rapids, and in the northern part of the vast marsh areas dominated. In the wilderness live 30 species of mammals and 120 species of birds, including brown, stone and white-tailed eagle. Wolves and lynxes are rare. On the subject Oulankajoki rapids Kiutaköngäs, Taivalköngäs, Jyrävä, Niskakoski and Myllykoski. Near the southern border to Suomussalmi is Canyonsee Julma Ölkky with up to high cliffs.


Climate diagram of Kuusamo
The climate in Kuusamo is kaltgemäßigt dominated continental and more than in the rest of Finland. The average annual temperature is −0.3 °C, annual precipitation of . The warmest month is July with an average temperature of +14.7 °C. On the coldest, it is in February with −13.2 °C. The coldest ever in Kuusamo measured temperature was −40.8 °C. Kuusamo is one of the richest areas of snow in Finland: About 200 days a year, from late October until mid-May, is a closed snow cover, the thickness of .

The center of Kuusamo is located approximately south of the Arctic Circle, thus playing the lights seasons (polar day and night) a major role. From 14 to 29 June seems to Kuusamo in the midnight sun. From September to February come around every third night before the polar lights.


On Kuusamo had inhabitants. Nearly two-thirds of the population lives in the city center, called the village of Kuusamo, the rest is divided among the villages in the rural hinterland. Like most communities in the fragile northern and eastern Finland, Kuusamo from the migration to the urban areas affected southern Finland. The mid-'60s, the population reached nearly 21,000 with its climax. After a period of decline consolidated the number of inhabitants in the 80 years since the mid-90s, it is again declining.

The negative population development is also reflected in the age Kuusamos contradictory because it is mainly young people who leave the town. Between 1998 and 2001, the rate of 0 to 15 years in the population from 25 to 23%, while the share of over 64-year-old from 12 to 14% increase..

Year Population
1960 18,639
1965 20,795
1970 19,974
1980 18,161
1985 17,923
1990 18,061
1995 18,687
2000 17,891
2001 17,729
2003 17,405
2005 17,113
2008 16,779

Economy and infrastructure


The main economic activities in Kuusamo, land, forestry and reindeer husbandry, small industries and tourism. The unemployment rate, at 16.2% (2003) relatively high.

In 2002 there were 248 in Kuusamo farms. Given the climatic conditions will hardly cereals, however, take milk and meat production a major role. Another major industry is reindeer breeding. In the forests of Kuusamo lifelong approximately 10,000 reindeer halbdomestizierte the year to run around freely. In the late push their owners the animals and looking out the slaughter animals. The forestry and wood processing industry in Kuusamo employ over 1,000 people.


Ruka in winter
Around one million tourists visit Kuusamo annually.. In 2002, 291,222 overnight stays registered, of which 17% of foreign guests. In the area of the city there are around 6,000 cottages (mökki), more than in any other municipality in Finland. The Ruka ski center is equipped with a total of 16,000 beds, four hotels and 28 restaurants, the biggest in Finland. On the slopes of the 492 m high, 29 Rukatunturi are mostly illuminated slopes. In addition, the guests activities such as skiing, snowmobile tours or excursions with reindeer and dog sledding offered. Ruka benefited from the long season, from mid-October to mid-June period. In summer, Kuusamo, above all, a natural destination for tourists, for fishing, kayaking or hiking in the area. The most famous trail is the Bears round (Karhunkierros), which at about from Ruka Oulanka by the National Park after Hautajärvi in the municipality of Salla leads.


State Road 20 in Kuusamo
The Highway 5 (E63) connects Kuusamo to Southern Finland. The Highway 20 leads from Kuusamo to Oulu, and the main road 81 to Rovaniemi. In Suoperä at Kuusamo, there is a border crossing to Russia, since 2006 for international traffic is released. In the year 2007, 17,000 border crossings recorded.

Kuusamo Airportmarker is from the city center and from Ruka away. He was born in 1969 and has since been extended several times. The airline Finnair offers daily direct flights from Helsinki, during the tourist season also manage charter flights to Kuusamo. In 2007, passengers used the airport 108,394..

Arts and Culture

The Church of Kuusamo
Kuusamo, mainly due to its natural beauty attracts visitors, the town has hardly attractions in the traditional sense to show. Because the city center in the Lapland war completely destroyed and then as soon as possible and economically had to be rebuilt, is Kuusamo from the architectural point of view largely irrelevant. By contrast, the cultural life of the city, at least in view of the relatively small population lively.

In 1996 completed "Kuusamo House" in the center acts as a cultural and conference center. In him are regular musical and theatrical performances as well as changing art exhibitions. The Museum of Kuusamo is an open-air museum, housed in a historic farmhouse has been established. Moreover, in the old school of Kirkkoketo a school museum.

Kuusamo's Church lies in the center of town and was built in 1951 on the same spot as the old wooden church of 1802. The original church had been burned to the ground, along with the rest of the town, at the end of WWII. Hotly pursued by the Russians, the 6.SS-Gebirgs-Division “NORD” briefly passed through Kuusamo on their withdrawal to occupied Norway. Before the SS troops renewed their march, Untersturmführer Reinhard Heydrich - a platoon commander in the divisions recce battalion - gave orders that the church bells be taken down and buried lest they fall into Russian hands. In 1959 SS Engineers, who had survived the war, returned to help unearth the church bells they buried back in 1944. Today these same bells reside in the re-built church.


Kuusamo is the venue of several international winter sports competitions. In Ruka skiing there is a stadium with the Rukatunturi-hill (HS142) and a smaller-K64 ski jumping hill and lighted trails and a biathlon facility. Since 2002, the World Cup kick-off in ski jumping and Nordic combined and cross country skiing World Cup races in Ruka Nordic Opening in late November at a joint event in Kuusamo instead. 2006's 16,000 spectators, the competition. . Ruka in 2005, the Freestyle Skiing World Cup instead.

Famous people from Kuusamo


  1. Metsänhoitoyhdistys Kuusamo [1] (finn.)
  2. Animals in Oulanka (finnische Forstbehörde, engl.)
  3. Kuusamo Taskutieto (Info-Broschüre der Stadt Kuusamo) [2](finn.)
  4. Finnischer Grenzschutz: Rajanylitysmäärät itärajan rajanylityspaikoilla (Anzahl der Grenzüberschreitungen an den Grenzübergängen der Ostgrenze, finn.)
  5. Finavia [3] (engl.)
  6. Black Edelweiss, Johann Voss, Aberjona Press, 2002.
  7. Pressemitteilung der Veranstalter [4]

External links

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