Savo Region of Finland

Our mökki, our summer cabin, is in the Savo region of Finland, about three hours on the train north of Helsinki and the capital region, and hard by Russia. We visited the regional capital this week, about an hour’s drive from our mökki, and its several notable places of interest.

Savonlinna, the regional hub, is a tidy small town with a busy kauppatori, shopping square, foreground.

Savo is the region, the “n” in Savon is the Finnish way to denote posessive, and Linna is castle, so the name of the town, Savonlinna, refers to its main feature, Savo’s castle, built about the time Columbus was sailing to America.

There’s an old State Hotel, now the Punkaharju Hotel nearby, formerly used as a hunting lodge for the Tsars in the late nineteenth century before Finnish independence. It’s fun to think of the Tsar’s travelling party converging on this place for a week of debauchery. This was also the meeting point for talks at the Niinistö/Putin summit, centered around the yearly Savonlinna Opera Festival at the castle.

Then there’s the putative world’s biggest wooden church nearby at Kerimäki, which really is big:

And back at Ollilla, our B&B, a unique Savo-style sauna, involving smoke and all day heating of rocks underneath:

I also enjoyed the Metsämuseo, the forest museum, in a place where the forest historically has provided a living, and the restored old railroad asema, station. I’ll have to follow with those pictures later. Nice, pleasant two days of things to see, well presented by our hosts, good friends from Helsinki.


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