Western Cultural Route
of the River Kymijoki

Iitti countryside and Kausala (items 51-83)

  In the northern stretch of the cultural route the fertile fields of Elimäki and Southern Iitti give way to a more varied landscape: the lakes of the River Kymijoki, the ridges of Salpausselkä, rough rapids and the bases of prehistoric mountains smoothed by ice ages but still standing up proudly.

The Villages of Maakansa, Sääskjärvi and Perheniemi

The municipality of Iitti was traditionally divided to the southern domain of "land people" and the northern domain of "water people". The land people living in the south came to the church of Iitti by land, and the water people living around the three lakes in the north rowed to the church with their long church boats. You can still see the old signposts of boat coves in the corner of church yard wall.

The present area of Maakansa (“Land people” in English) comprises five villages. One of them is Haapakimola on the shortest road to Kausala when you come from the direction of Elimäki. However, the Cultural Road follows a little longer route through the lake landscapes of Sääskjärvi and the village of Perheniemi.

Karralan kotiseututalo / The Local History House of Karrala (item 51)  

Address: Myllymäentie 32, 47310 Haapa-Kimola (Iitti).    www.iitinkotiseutuyhdistys.fi

This house built in 18th century is maintained by the local heritage association of Iitti. You are welcome to see the old interior of the main house and the farmyard buildings during the summer events, such as September 3rd–4th.  

At other times, please book in advance. Call +358 (0)45 232 6242 / Irma Napola.

Maakansan Seuratalo / Maakansa Community Hall (item 52)  

Kimonkyläntie 134, Haapa-Kimola.   Tel. +358 (0)44 334 0005    www.maakansanseuratalo.com

The Hall is the centre of the village community. It is a place for discussing and settling common issues of Maakansa area and a venue for private feasts and other events, for example the Open Doors Day in May 21st, and the event Old-Time Gadgets on September 3rd-4th.   

Home Garden Kivirinne (item 53)  

Vuokkolantie 47, 47310 Haapa-Kimola. Tel. +358 (0) 400 945 616    www.avoimetpuutarhat.fi/fin/puutarhat/

The 1.5 hectare garden is known for a wide variety of shrubs and trees. The paintings, ceramics and mosaics by Margit Peltola are on display in the old granary. Please book in advance. Free entry.   

The landscapes of Lake Sääskjärvi (item 54) and its shores are surprisingly open. Signposts along the road circling the lake show the way to beaches and the bird tower of Perheniemi. In autumn, birdwatchers can catch the sight of thousands of white-fronted geese alighting on the fields around Lake Sääskjärvi to rest during their migration flight.

Hikers arriving at a crossroads of the Backman Ironmonger's are advised to make a few kilometres round trip on the lakeside road and see the village area of Perheniemi.

Marttila farmhouse / Olgan Talli (item 55)  

Puttilantie 4, 07440 Sääskjärvi. Tel. +358 (0)50 338 0601    www.olgantalli.fi

Marttila on the hill next to the ironmonger's, is the filming location of the Finnish TV show Olga’s Home, owned by the popular TV performer Olga Temonen and her husband, filmmaker Tuukka Temonen.

Olgan Talli (Olga's stable) offers full board for nine horses in cosy and safe surroundings with outdoor pens as well as horse riding courses for adults.

Perheniemi evangelical institute (item 56)

Opistontie 15 B, 47450 Perheniemi. Tel. +358 (0)5 757 4100    www.perheniemi.com

The institute was evacuated from the Karelian isthmus during the Second World War. Perheniemi offers summer courses in various subjects (only in Finnish) and provides affordable accommodation in an old manor milieu surrounded by the historic shores of Sääskjärvi.   

Haaviston Seurantalo / Haavisto Community Hall (item 57)

Kuninkaantie 847, 47450 Perheniemi. Tel. +358 (0)40 501 4256    www.perheniemenkyla.net

Haavisto is another centre of summer activities in the village of Perheniemi. A wide variety of events are organised inside and in the front of the Community Hall. For example, there's an evening market every Friday during summer starting at 6 p.m.

The traditional Perheniemi village dance is held on July 9th.  

On the Western Side of Lake Sääskjärvi

Myllylän kansakoulu / The Old School House of Myllylä (item 58)

Riutanpääntie 11, 47450 Perheniemi. Tel. +358 40 776 4042    www.paulanoponen.com

A few kilometres west of Lake Sääskjärvi, Myllylä is worth a visit. Ceramic artist Paula Noponen and wood designer Perttu Rista have their studios and a shop there.   

In their garden they cultivate and breed garlic, flowers and other plants. Open doors on several days during the summer.   You can watch their work demonstrations and shop at a crafts market room.

Väinölä Sheep and Steed Farm (item 59)

Metsäläntie 542a, 47450 Perheniemi. Tel. +358 40 588 5259    www.vainola.fi

A couple of kilometres from Myllylä, Väinölä farm raises sheep and sells lambs, mutton and skins.

There are also stalls for rent in the horse stable. Väinölä farm offers riding lessons, and trains horses and ponies for riding and harness driving.   

Commercial town area Kausala in Iitti

More than a half of Iitti's inhabitants live in Kausala, an old station village along the railroad between Helsinki and Kouvola with a direct connection across the border to St Petersburg.

Kausala is a busy commercial and industrial town area in Iitti, and the Highway 12 between Lahti and Kouvola runs through it.

Kausala Market Square (item 60)

There have been market fairs in Iitti for over 130 years. There is an open-air market on the Kausala market square on the first Tuesday of the month from May to September 7 a.m.–2 p.m.

In addition, on one Saturday every month from May until September there is a themed market day such as Children's Market, Fish Market and recycling-themed Market.

Iitin kirjasto / Iitti Library and its Kirmo Hall (item 61)

Kausansaarentie 3, 47400 Kausala. Tel. +358 40 483 3800  

The library of Iitti, built in 1992, is a masterpiece of modern Finnish architecture designed by architect Arto Sipinen, who worked with Alvar Aalto and Viljo Revell as a young man. The Kirmo Hall of the library is a popular venue for exhibitions with a variety of events year round.

The Orthodox Chapel (Tsasoun) of Iitti  

Keskikatu 4, 47400 Kausala. Tel. +358 5 388 8399

The chapel is located in the centre of Kausala near to bus station and it is surrounded by large silver willows, spruces and rose bushes. The tsasoun was built in 2003 and it is dedicated to the birth of Virgin Mary. Anniversary of the chapel is celebrated every year on September 8th.

Kausala Horse Track and Ravilinna sports hall (item 62)

The first trotting event in Iitti was organised on the winter ice of Lake Kirkkojärvi in 1870, and still Iitti is well-known for horse breeders and trainers. The most eagerly waited event on the Kausala summer track and its service centre is the Whitsun Trotting Race.

The village of Radansuu and the Church village

The Church village of Iitti, located on a high ridge five kilometres north of Kausala and in the middle of three lakes, was voted in 1990 the most beautiful village in Finland. The scenic road with good services along the way is an attractive route for visitors.

Benjamin Maatilatori / Benjami's Farm Market (item 63)

Kymenrannantie 1, 47400 Kausala. Tel. +358 (0)5 326 0247    www.maatilatori.fi

The first place to stop on the scenic road from Kausala to Church village of Iitti is Benjami's Farm Market with a butcher's shop, patisserie, a room for vegetables and fruits and Villen Fisu fish market (item 64), all in the same yard.

The selection of fresh produce and local food is impressive all year round, and there are also handicrafts on sale – all together from more than 100 local food producers and artisans.   

Restaurant Kurjenmiekka (item 65)

Harjuntie 7, 47400 Kausala. Tel. +358 (0)44 777 7474    www.kurjenmiekka.fi

The private restaurant in its impressive-looking log houses is the next stop. Until the end of August it also   serves as a fully licensed terrace bar and café on Wednesday and Friday afternoons and nights. Catering services, and banqueting in the premises of Kurjenmiekka even up to 300 people with skill and style.  

Radansuu Village Shop (item 66)

Iitintie 567, 47400 Kausala, Tel. +358 (0)5 366 3824

Radansuu Village Shop has been serving daily customers for decades in a grocery of about 10 square metres’ floor area. Many travellers stop to do some shopping or just to marvel at the ample selection in the tiny shop.

Lomakivi (item 67)

Lomakiventie 4 A, 47400 Kausala. Tel. +358 40 534 0755    www.lomakivi.fi

Between two lakes and next to the Iitti golf course and the Urajärvi beach, the Lomakivi visitors' farm offers accommodation in cosy rooms and facilities for meetings and feasts. Please book in advance. There are beds for up to forty people.

The fields of the farm have been cultivated for 13 generations, as you can see from the family tree in the main building.

Pohjanmäentien Hyvinvointi Oy (item 68)  

Pohjanmäentie 14, 47400 Kausala, Tel. +358 (0)40 744 8866

Pohjanmäentien Hyvinvointi Oy is a horse farm with six trained horses and three ponies which you can book for riding and hand-led riding right next to Hostel Lomakivi.

Urajärvi Lake Beach (item 69)

Urajärvi on the south-eastern side of Iitti Golf course is a well-maintained sand beach with bathing cabins, children’s playground, a pier for swimmers, volleyball court, archery range etc.

Saukonkallio Dance Pavilion (70)

Urajärventie 269A. Tel. +358 (0)40 548 6806    www.saukonkallio.fi

A little further south on the shore of the beautiful Lake Urajärvi you’ll find the Saukonkallio Dance Pavilion where you can dance to popular Finnish dance music on Midsummer Eve and on Monday nights from June 13th until August 15th.

Iitti Golf (item 71)

Iitintie 684, 47400 Kausala. Tel. +358 5 544 4400    www.iittigolf.com

The most inspiring scenic point before arriving in the village of Iitti is the 18-hole golf course area on the protected fields and ridges of the former Niskaportti farm between two lakes. The cafeteria of the golf centre is open for all visitors. You can watch the players, try your skills on the driving range or take the beginners' course.  

Every June Iitti Music Festival organizes concerts in the old threshing barn of Niskaportti farm. In 2014, the festival audience enjoyed a concert of the world-famous opera singer Matti Salminen.

Iitti Church (item 72)

The red wooden church of Iitti with its hipped roof was built in 1693 and it is an impressive sight. It is also the venue of the Iitti Music Festival. The church is open for public. If the free guiding is needed, please book in advance, tel. 358 (0)5 829 3323 (Mon. – Fri. from 9 a.m. to 12 noon).

Iitti Music Festival (item 73) in June

www.iittifestival.fi

First-rate artists and an evening concert on the top of the prehistoric hill of Hiidenvuori have made the Iitti Music Festival one of the most interesting events promoted by Finland Festivals.

Other concert venues are the church of Iitti, the old threshing barn in Iitti Golf and the Verla Mill Museum, Unesco’s World Heritage Site (30 kilometres from Iitti).

The Iitti Summer Theatre (item 74)

The Iitti Summer Theater's amateur performances gather, in turn, a large audience to Museum Hill close to church.

Iitti Community Hall (item 75)

Kymentaantie 1, 47520 Iitti, Tel. +358 40 483 3781

Iitti Community Hall is a sympathetic and lively place to visit. There's a terrace cafeteria, art exhibitions and a summer shop of the Iitti Handicraft Association which make the Community House a popular stop for people spending their holiday in more than 3,000 summer villas and cottages of Iitti.

Nature Sights in Northern Iitti

Birdwatchers can follow the signposts from the Iitti church to the Bird Tower of Mukulanlahti (76) on Lake Urajärvi, about 1.5 kilometres away. You might catch a sight of a buzzard among the variety of birds nesting in the grass. Also worth visiting are the rugged lake area of Northern Iitti where you can see several stone-age rock paintings, the old timber floating channel in Kimola and the lakeside village of Vuolenkoski.

Hiidenvuori Hill (item 77)

The Hiidenvuori hill is located 14 kilometres north of Iitti church, after the village of Kymentaka. Follow the signs to the island of Hiidensaari and you will find a parking place near the hill and the beach. Hiidenvuori is an ancient hill fort and nowadays again a concert venue during the Iitti Music Festival in June.

The first music festival was organised in summer 1914 with some famous opera singers and actors performing to an audience of 3,000 people. Unfortunately, the First World War in 1914, the Russian Revolution and the Finnish Civil War in 1918 stopped the performances for a long time.

After the Winter War against Soviet Union, in summer 1940, German playwright Bertolt Brecht stayed and worked in Iitti for a month while waiting in Finland with his family and a Danish mistress for a visa to USA.

Mankala Rapids and Lake Leininselkä

SF-Caravan Leininranta Camping Site (item 78)

Siestantie 7, 47400 Kausala. Tel. +358 (0)40 833 5730    www.sf-caravankaakkoishame.fi

The new camping area is located three and a half kilometres from Kausala towards Lahti and it is a popular gathering place for campers on the shore of Lake Leininselkä. There are 35 sites for visitor caravans and a lot of sites for seasonal camping (all electrified), a sauna and washing facilities, a beach, boats for hire, cooking facilities and common rooms.

Matkakeidas Kausala / Neste Service Station (item 79)

Sitikkalantie 5, 47400 Kausala. Tel. +358 (0)5 326 0448    www.matkakeidas.fi

Matkakeidas (Travel oasis) with a large buffet and à la carte restaurant, hamburger restaurant, pizzeria, cafeteria, food shop and many kinds of car services is the most versatile stopover on the road between Lahti and Kouvola. The service station is open every day from 5 a.m. Early morning breakfast for early morning customers, sauna for truck drivers and a delicious buffet from 11 a.m.

The free-flowing Mankala rapids of the River Kymijoki were immortalized in several paintings during the golden age of Finnish art at the end of 19th century and in about ten Finnish feature films of the early 20th century.

You can reach the Mankala power plant dam (item 80) from Highway 12 by turning off at the Neste service station crossroads. The asphalt by-road follows the shores of the Lake Leininselkä below the power plant and crosses the impressive dam built in 1952 (you can stop at a viewpoint) to the village of Sitikkala on the eastern side of the river.

Metka Holiday Villas (item 81)

Sitikkalantie 372, 47490 Mankala. Tel. +358 (0)50 596 8579    www.metka.fi

The villas are located in the national landscape, a couple of kilometres north of the Mankala power plant, on the calmly flowing River Kymijoki. There are two large and well-equipped new villas and one traditional lakeside cottage.

About 500 metres from the river there is an old croft which has been renovated for accommodation purposes. There's a sauna in the yard, a place to swim in the river and a boat. You can also hire a pontoon sauna and for example pick berries and gather wild mushrooms and go fishing and hire fishing tackle.

Yli-Kaitala Holiday Resort and Private Restaurant Ketunleipä (item 82)

Kaitalantie 323, 47490 Mankala. Tel. +358 (0)50 386 3737    www.yli-kaitala.com

Yli-Kaitala is a visitors' farm of a large size on Lake Kettujärvi near the Kymijoki River. Yli-Kaitala is known for its high quality accommodation, fishing and outdoor activities, spacious restaurant and innovative dome-shaped Moss Sauna equipped with high-tech devices alongside the traditional saunas and pools.

In addition to the villas and cottages Yli-Kaitala offers hotel-standard rooms with a minikitchen and a lake view. The restaurant has modern facilities to arrange meetings of up to 120 people and it is fully licensed.

Delicious food, stylish settings and friendly service ensure a delightful meal for visitors and private groups. Meals and refreshments are also served in various outdoor locations around the farm and of course in the unique Moss Sauna and the lakeside Kettusauna.

Village of Vuolenkoski (item 83)   

www.vuolenkoski.fi

Iitti’s Vuolenkoski was voted the Finnish Village of the Year in 2014. You’ll find it by driving about 20   kilometres northwest from Iitti church. The Kymijoki riverbed begins in Vuolenkoski, and the first rapid in the river is Vuolenkoski rapid only 300 metres from the Lake Konnivesi through which the Kymi River waters flow. A lot of summer events and Vuolenkoski open air market on Saturdays until September 24th.