Western Cultural Route
of the River Kymijoki

Elimäki countryside and Koria in Kouvola region (items 31-50)

The wide fields north of the village of Ruotsinkylä are a sure sign of your arrival in the farming village area of Elimäki.

Sipilä Strawberry Farm (item 31) 

Address: Koskistonoikotie 8, 47260 Ratula. Tel. +358 50 579 0757.

When you cross the municipal border of Loviisa and Kouvola you will soon see the strawberry fields on the right side of the road.

In season, which usually lasts a month or so, the landowner will show you the ropes if you want to pick your own strawberries, but there are also freshly picked berries for sale in the freezer on the yard.

Ratula Community Hall (32) 

Address: Ratulantie 625, 47260 Ratula. Tel. +358 400 754 249

Ratula Community Hall used to be the cultural centre of the village as well as a theatre and dance hall like many of the community halls along the route.

Also in Ratula the stage was decorated with old hand-painted backdrops which were moved up and down with rope lines. In the opposite end of the hall there is a sizable balcony.

Like in most community halls, there is also a roomy buffet. The community hall can be hired for private parties and it's also a great venue for exhibitions.

Seikkailuviikari Oy (item 33) 

Address: Pihtojantie 31, 46900 Inkeroinen.      www.seikkailuviikari.fi

The rapids of Kymijoki provided nourishment all year round for the first people who settled in this area after the latest ice age more than 6,000 years ago.

The rapids in the middle run of the river are still the most voluminous free-flowing rapids in Southern Finland. You can ride the best rapids on rafts if you want to experience the power of these torrents.

Seikkailuviikari is a company that organizes 2.5-hour trips through five subsequent rapids on inflatables carrying up to 10 people. You can also join a more peaceful canoe trip starting below the Ankkapurha rapid in Inkeroinen and going either to the channel of Pyhtää in the Kymijoki River or further to the 50-kilometre long damless route of Ahvenkoski, all the way to the Strömfors ironworks.

These trips include one night in the well-equipped encampment along the river route through two lakes.

Moisio Manor (item 34) 

Address: Moisiontie 163, 47200 Elimäki.   www.moisionkartano.com

After crossing the road to Anjalankoski there is only a short way to go to the eastern edge of the village of Elimäki. The majestic facade of the Moisio Manor built in 1820 can be seen across the fields almost a kilometre away.

The Empire style manor was designed by the German-born architect Carl Ludvig Engel (1778-1840). Engel came to Finland in 1816 after working both in Tallinn and in St Petersburg. Over 20 years he produced a vast body of work as the leading designer of town plans and churches, hospitals and other public buildings in Finland, e.g. the Helsinki Senate Square and its monumental buildings and the Vartiovuori observatory in Turku.

In Elimäki he was commissioned by Fredrik af Forselles, the "Major of Moisio" and a veteran of the Finnish war of 1808–09 – and the grandson of Jacob af Forselles, who revived the Strömfors ironworks and served as the first mayor of Loviisa.

In the 1820s Major Fredrik Forselles became the biggest landowner of Elimäki acquiring more than 23,000 hectares of land.

The Moisio Manor has been open to the public since 1997 exhibiting art and arranging banquets, weddings and balls. The second floor rooms are reserved for displaying the paintings and sculptures and antiquities of Hasu family collection as well as temporary exhibitions.

Also the ground floor restaurant is decorated with art works, and there are seats for 120 persons.

The Moisio Manor’s guesthouse has accommodation max. for 19 persons. The rooms are double, some with an extra bed, if needed. Toilets and showers on corridor. A common kitchen. The price includes bedclothes and towels, as well as breakfast. Sauna available.

The Manor presents the pearls of the Hasu art collection including paintings by old masters Anders Zorn, Berndt Lindholm, Julius von Klever and Ester Helenius and valuable sculptures by Ville Vallgren, Johannes Takanen, Jussi Mäntynen and Wäinö Aaltonen.

In addition to the permanent collection, the 2016 summer exhibition of Moisio Manor presents the works of 19 Finnish artists till 30th of August.

Paavola’s Home Cheese Factory (item 35) 

Address: Vanhamaantie 336, 47200 Elimäki.  www.kotijuustola.ps-palvelu.fi 

Located only two kilometres from the Moisio Manor, the Paavola cheese factory manufactures cheese and youghurt using the fresh and unprocessed milk of nearby farms and traditional methods of curdling.

The factory produces squeaky bread cheese, baked cheese, spreadable cheeses and home-made yoghurts seasoned with fruit and berries. There is a cafeteria and a shop for groups on reservation. Introduction of cheese manufacturing free of charge.   

Laurila Ostrich Farm (37) 

Address: Lakiasuontie 107, 47200 Elimäki.   www.strutsitila.net

In the Laurila ostrich farm you can marvel at these big-eyed birds more than 2.5 metres tall and weighing up to 150 kilograms. Ostriches cannot fly, but they can run as fast as 65 kilometres per hour. You can also see their eggs weighing almost 1.5 kilograms and baby ostriches – and the kitten and the friendly dog of the Laurila’s farm. 

Ostrich meat is tender, low-fat, easily digested and high in protein. Ostrich meat products, feathers and eggs, other ostrich-themed articles as well as willow crafts and other handicrafts are available in the farm shop.

Elimäki Church (item 38) 

Address: Vanhamaantie 16B, 47200 Elimäki. Tel. +358 40 849 2612

Of all the churches along the Cultural Road the wooden church of Elimäki is the second oldest. It is assumed that the oldest part of the church was built in 1638. It was enlarged and remodelled in the shape of a cross under the master builder Petter Loman in 1678.

The beautifully decorated pulpit was built by Lorentz Haberman, the master of Pernaja, in the 1650s.

Elimäki church with its baroque decor is considered one of the most valuable 17th century churches in Finland. The two-part altarpiece and the lavish frame with its pillars and statues was donated by Casper Wrede, owner of the Peippola Manor, in 1632.

His father, Baltic nobleman Henrik Wrede, saved King Charles IX of Sweden by sacrificing his own life in the battle of Kircholm near Riga in 1605. The grateful king granted Wrede's widow and children a large fiefdom in the region Elimäki.

When an 18th century gallery was removed during a renovation of the church in the 1960s, it was discovered that the underlying wall was covered by black and white paintings of the Apostles made by Valentin Betgen from Viipuri in 1679. The Apostles were depicted in Finnish landscape and surrounded by ornaments.

The outer walls of the church used to be red, but they were painted grey in the late 19th century. The church was renovated by the local people in 1992–95. They built the new aspen shingle roof which needs to be tarred every five years.

Elimäki church is open to the public according to the timetables of Finnish road churches.

Elimäki Local Museum (item 39) 

Address: Alppiruusuntie 98, 47200 Elimäki.

There are seven museum buildings including a windmill, which you can see over the fields when you come from the south. Other buildings within the pole fence are the farm house built in the 1840s, two granaries, a forge, a storehouse shop and a drying barn.

Down by a little stream you can find the stage of Elimäki summer theatre with a kiosk and a toilet.

In summer 2016 the museum is open June 3nd–July 31st. The collection of the museum comprises about 3,000 items. The collection has been amassed since the 1920s and the museum was opened in 1964. Every year after Midsummer the hay is cut and stacked on hay poles to dry.

Pestoomarkkinat / Traditional Countryside Market in Elimäki, September 3rd (item 40)

The event took place in the neigbourhood of Elimäki Church as early as 1820s or 1830s and is still going strong. Every September, the first Saturday morning, approximately 5000 people gather to buy market goods, handicrafts and local food – and especially to see who have been elected the prestigious Lass and Lad of the Year.

Originally, the mansions and farmhouses bought or hired maids and farm workers from Pestoomarkkinat.

Lähiruokamessut / Local Food Fair in Elimäki, September 10th-11th (item 41) 

Address: Alppiruusuntie 99, 47200 Elimäki.  Tel. +358 (0)400 539 273   www.lahiruoka.fi

One week later thousands of people gather again in Elimäki (near to Alppiruusu Farmer’s Market and Arboretum Mustila) to get information about good and healthy local food and how to prepare it. The special theme of this year is milk and milk products. More than fifty exhibition stands and booths full of local and organic food. An exhibition of fresh forest mushrooms at the same time at Arboretum Mustila.

The premises of Local History Museum next to the Fair market are open during the Fair hours. There are also some farm animals and a playground and pedal-driven tractors rink for children in the Museum yard.

Alppiruusu Cafe and Restaurant (item 42)

Address: Alppiruusuntie 35, 47200 Elimäki. Tel. +358 (0)5 377 6868   www.alppiruusu.fi

During the summer 2016 the restaurant is closed for reconstruction.

This spacious cafe and restaurant in two floors serves a popular lunch buffet every day all year round. Also catering and á la carte menu, and for groups local and organic food menus. Conference rooms and a roof terrace.

Alppiruusu Farmers' Market (item 43)

Address: Alppiruusuntie 35, 47200 Elimäki.  Tel. +358 (0)5 377 7333   www.alppiruusu.fi 

During the summer 2016 the farmers' market is closed for reconstruction.

Co-operating with Alppiruusu Restaurant the Farmer’s Market sells local farm products and organic food, e.g. meat (even ostrich meat and fresh elk meat in the autumn), flours, groats, vegetables, eggs, home made cheese and yoghurts, cold-pressed juices, fresh bakings, Finnish rye bread, meat and fish preserves and home made jams. Also a large selection of local handicrafts.

Arboretum Mustila (item 44)

Address: Mustilantie 57, 47200 Elimäki.  Tel. +358 (0)5 377 6678   www.mustila.fi

Arboretum was founded in 1902 by Axel Fredrik Tigerstedt as a test site for exotic conifer species. Today it remains a unique area on introduced horticulturalplants in northern Europe. Nearly a hundred conifer species, more than 200 broad-leaved tree species and numerous shrubs, vines, bulbs and perennials have been planted in the arboretum, covering 120 hectares.

Arboretum Mustila is especially famous for its forests of rhododendrons and atzaleas. Every June the colourful flowers can be seen with a magnificient concert of singing birds at the same time.

Another spectacular season of colours is in the autumn when the deciduous trees burst into a glow of red, orange and yellow.

From May 1st to September 30th visitors are welcome to the park every day at 08-21 o’clock and in winter time on daylight hours.

Guided tours for groups in Finnish, Swedish and English. A cup of coffee or tea and salty or sweet pastries baked in the café kitchen as well as sweets, ice-cream, soft drinks and e.g. seeds of trees, shrubs and perennials (should be ordered in advance) and seedings of uncommon plants, gardening literature and postcards are on sale in the Arboretum Café near to main parking area.

Main events: Children’s day and Rhododendron day in May and Sapling day in August 27th.

Mustilan Taimitarha and Garden shop (item 45)

Address: Mustila, 47200 Elimäki.  Tel. +358 (0)5 377 6221  www.mustilantaimitarha.fi

Mustila plant nursery with a garden shop of high quality was founded by Axel Tigerstedt’s son Carl Gustav Tigerstedt in 1933, and it is still owned by Tigerstedt Family in fourth generation. The shop is located next to Arboretum Mustila.

Mustila Viini (item 46)

Address: Mustila, 47200 Elimäki.  Tel. +358 (0)400 539 273 (Maria Tigerstedt)   www.mustilaviini.fi

Mustila Viini makes berry- and fruitwines with 13% and less alcohol by fermentation. Liquers are also among its products. The fruits and berries from which all the wines and liquers are made come from local contract growers and gardens.

The wineshop and wine chamber are located in Mustila’s unique area in Elimäki just about 100 kilometres from Helsinki and 25 kilometres from the centre of Kouvola. 

Café Piika ja Renki (item 47)

Address: Mustila, 47200 Elimäki.  Tel. +358 (0) 40 417 7246    www.piikajarenki.fi

The name of this summer cafeteria Piika ja Renki means “The Lass and Lad”. It is famous for its fine coffee, delicious cakes and delicious sandwiches. The café also serves savoury pasties, mouth-watering cheesecakes, fruit and berry flans, ice-cream, hand-made sugar candies and warm and cold drinks.

And the second cup of coffee is included in the the price.  The cafeteria is open till September 11th.

The old granary building also contains a shop for handicrafts of high quality and an art gallery on the second floor.

Kallioniemi Dance Hall  (item 48)

Address: Puistolantie 1-3, 45610 Koria.   www.korianponsi.com

Kallioniemi is a traditional Finnish summer dance pavilion run by the local sports club Korian Ponsi ry.

It was originally constructed on the opposite shore of the river Kymijoki. The first dance was arranged in 1948.

The 1950s and 1960s were the golden age for the dance pavilions in Finland. At that time there were at least four dance evenings a week at Kallioniemi. The dance pavilion was resituated on the opposite, Koria side of the river in 1966.

The younger generations did not take up old-fashioned dancing in the 1970s and 1980s like their parents had done before them. Nowadays the sports club arranges at Kallioniemi two weekly dances during the summer season – on Friday evenings and on Sunday afternoons from May till September.

The popularity of Kallioniemi dances is based on Finland’s top artists and best dance orchestras.

Elimäki-Vilppula’s Youth Club House (item 49)

Address: Kyminasemantie 4B, 45610 Koria.  Tel. +358 (0)5 322 0044    www.elimaenvilppulanns.com

The Youth Club was founded in 1902 and the club house (near the train station) was opened in 1909 .

In the first decades, the large building was also used as a church, nowadays as an activity and recreation centre for children and youth and older people, too.

From September until May the house is also used as a dance hall with live music on Wednesdays and on Sundays.

Mikkelä Farm B&B (item 50)

Address: Kukkomäki 59, 45610 Koria.  Tel. +358 (0)40 510 4143    www.mikkelafarm.net

Mikkelän tila (Mikkelä Farm) offers a cosy accommodation in the guest house’s rooms or apartments. The whole guest house can be rented for larger groups. There is also an apartment with own entrance in the main building.

Breakfast is served in the dining room of the main building. Catering for 10-52 persons. 15 beds.