The environment declaration made by the town of Kuusamo and published in 1993 states: “For the people of Kuusamo, nature has always been a source of mental and material wellbeing as well as recreation. Nature has shaped culture in Kuusamo and made it original and self-sufficient, and it has given the people of Kuusamo an enterprising spirit and a good work ethic. Just as Kuusamo is a place where different biotopes meet, it has always been a place where different cultures meet.”
Arts and culture
Art inspired by nature
The beating heart of culture in Ruka-Kuusamo is justifiably Kuusamotalo, located in Kuusamo centre. Kuusamo municipality’s cultural operations are responsible for Kuusamotalo’s cultural activities and their development. Kuusamo also has an active summer theatre in a stunning location on the shore of Lake Kuusamojärvi.
Operating in the premises of Kuusamo College, Kuusamo Arctic Residency Centre provides a diverse working environment for artists, scientists and nature photographers. Piloting the residency’s operations is part of the Kripa project.
The first curated residency artist is Jussi TwoSeven, an artist with a background in street art. He is also one of Finland’s most famous mural artists. In connection with his residency in August, Jussi completed a large mural in Ruka. The completed artwork can be seen from 23 August 2021 under the bridge of the FIS bridge, within walking distance of Ruka village.
Traditional landscape as a part of culture
We strive to keep the cultural heritage of Kuusamo alive also in old buildings. In addition to Kuusamo Outdoor Museum, you can admire traditional buildings when visiting the restaurants Iisakin talo, Isokenkäisten klubi, Pohjolan pirtti and Pohjolan kievari. Water meadows cultivated by people in the past can be seen along Oulankajoki river.
You can also get to know the unique features of the region conveniently indoors in different exhibitions. Oulanka Visitor Centre, Karhunkierros Visitor Centre and Hannu Hautala Nature Photography Centre have changing exhibitions all year round. In addition, different exhibitions are organised in the premises of Kuusamotalo’s Kaamogalleria gallery and the Kuusamo Outdoor Museum as well as in the Porkkatörmä exhibition space.
Kuusamo Nature Photo
One of the region’s best known exhibitions is Kuusamo Nature Photo, which brings together nature photographers from around the world to Kuusamo in mid-September.
Meeri Koutaniemi’s "Eight seasons"
Kuusamo-born photographer Meeri Koutaniemi’s photographic artwork Kyliltä kuultua - Kahdeksan vuodenaikaa (“The word about town – Eight seasons”) is located in Kuusamo market square.
Kuusamo Outdoor Museum
Kuusamo Outdoor Museum shows a Kuusamo-style courtyard of the local peasantry dating back to the 1930s. The grounds include Pulkkasen pirtti cabin, Rävän talo house, a cattle house and a stable house, among others. The courtyard’s surroundings also include other buildings from times gone by. The museum holds a collection of approximately 1,500 items.
Kuusamo Outdoor Museum is located near Kuusamo centre, in the Tolpanniemi area.
History trails and monuments
|History trail on the shore of Lake Kuusamojärvi|
|A history trail with four information boards about history is located on the shore of Lake Kuusamojärvi, in the Kelanranta and Kirkkolahti area. The themes include Kuusamo’s history from the Ice Age until the Second World War, life on the Kela shores, the history of Kuusamo’s parish and church, and Kuusamo in the wartime.|
|Suomen Salpa (Finland’s Bolt) bunker line; Lahtela – Vanttaja Trail|
|The Suomen Salpa bunker line stretches approximately 1,200 kilometres and is a massive defence line that was constructed during the years 1940 – 1941 and 1944 to defend Finland’s eastern border. Suomen Salpa bunker line runs along Finland’s eastern border from the Gulf of Finland up to Savukoski, continuing with entrenchments right the way up to the Arctic Ocean. In Kuusamo the intention was to protect the eastern side of the parish village by, for instance, constructing strong anti-tank obstacles to the necks of land lying between the larger lakes. Along the Lahtela – Vanttaja Trail there are numerous sites relating to the history of the Suomen Salpa defence line, field railway and timber haulage facility. The departure point for the trail is located 13.3 kilometres from the centre of Kuusamo; 6.2 km south along the Kajaanintie road, then take a right along Lämsänkyläntie and continue for 6.1 km. The parking place can be found on the left side of the road, and the 4.5 km long trail starts from the other side of the Lämsänkyläntie road.|
|Memorial of the 3rd Army Corps|
|The memorial is located in the grounds of the Karhuntassu Tourist and Nature Centre. This monument, designed by Architect Seppo Koutaniemi, is a memorial for the soldiers who fought in the Winter War and Continuation War, and was unveiled at the 3rd Army Corps Veteran’s Day in 1989.|
|This monument is located along the Kirkkotie road close to the Parish Hall and was unveiled in September 1994, a date that marked 50 years from the final evacuation. The monument was designed by Architect Seppo Koutaniemi.|
|Memorial to the Kuolio Border Station and fallen Airborne Troops|
|This monument is located on the Ouluntie road in the village of Kuolio on the shores of Lake Kovajärvi approximately 22 kilometres from Kuusamo in the direction of Oulu.|
|Memorial Statue for Fallen Heroes|
|This monument is located in the Heroes’ Cemetery next to the Pyhän Risti Church (Church of the Holy Cross). This statue made from grey granite was designed by sculptor and teacher of visual arts, Mauno Juvonen, and it was unveiled in 1957.|
|Monument to the Heroes of the War of Independence|
|This monument is located in the cemetery of the Pyhän Risti Church (Church of the Holy Cross), next to the Heroes’ Cemetery of the last World War. It was probably erected in the 1920s by the Kuusamo Civil Guard. This memorial stone stands in memory of the people fighting on the side of the Whites (valkoiset) from Kuusamo that died in the civil war in 1918 in East Karelia and Tampere. The stone has the names of the eleven fallen men with text.|
|Old Church and Belfry Monument in the Pyhän Risti Church (Church of the Holy Cross) grounds|
|This monument is located on the site of the old belfry constructed in 1759 and burned by the German soldiers in September 1944. The monument was designed and built by Parish Treasurer Veikko Salokannel in 1962. The plaque on the monument was first seen at the Cemetery for Finnish Heroes, and later at the Cemetery for German Heroes. The original cross from the old belfry can be found on the monument.|
|Väkevät Näkevät Tekevät (Strong, Sighted, Industrious)|
|This bronze sculpture erected in honour of the reconstruction of Kuusamo is located in front of the Town Hall. The monument was designed by Professor Terho Sakki and was unveiled during the National Ethnographic Days in the summer of 1986.|
|Risteysveistos (Junction Sculpture) – Monument to the White Sea Karelia Trade Route|
|This junction sculpture located at the intersection of the Kitkantie and Vuotungintie roads was completed in 1995 and designed by architect Seppo Koutaniemi. The sculpture depicts the White Sea Karelia Trade Route and the four branches were formed from an axe ornament found in Kuusamo.|
|Tyrsky (Breaker) – junction sculpture|
|Located at the intersection of the Ouluntie and Kajaanintie roads, the Tyrsky junction sculpture was made in 1998 and designed by Aaro Vitikka. The sculpture depicts a large rising wave and the status of Kuusamo as a vital passage east and west.|
|Käylä border region church memorial|
|In Paanajärvi, next to the border region church in North Kuusamo, a monument was unveiled in 1989 in memory of those buried during 1934 – 1944.|
|Monument for the fallen German soldiers fallen on the Kestenga route|
|This monument was erected on the shores of Lake Kuusamojärvi in Vanttajankannas in autumn 1996. The monument is located by the Hiltusentie junction on the left side of the Lämsänkyläntie road. The parking area for the Lahtela – Vanttaja Trail of the Suomen Salpa (Finland’s Bolt) bunker line is adjacent to the monument.|