Kuusamo: Wikis


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—  Town and municipality  —
Kuusamon kaupunki
Snow-covered trees in Kuusamo

Coat of arms
Location of Kuusamo in Finland
Coordinates: 65°58′N 029°11′E / 65.967°N 29.183°E / 65.967; 29.183Coordinates: 65°58′N 029°11′E / 65.967°N 29.183°E / 65.967; 29.183
Country Finland
Region Northern Ostrobothnia
Sub-region Koillismaa sub-region
Charter 1868
 - Town manager Timo Halonen
Area (2009-01-01)[1]
 - Total 5,808.95 km2 (2,242.8 sq mi)
 - Land 4,978.6 km2 (1,922.2 sq mi)
 - Water 830.35 km2 (320.6 sq mi)
Area rank 10th largest in Finland
Population (2009-12-31)[2]
 - Total 16,669
 - Density 3.35/km2 (8.7/sq mi)
Population rank 68th largest in Finland
Population by native language [3]
 - Finnish 98.9% (official)
 - Swedish 0.1%
 - Others 1%
Population by age [4]
 - 0 to 14 17.3%
 - 15 to 64 64.4%
 - 65 or older 18.3%
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Municipal tax rate[5] 19.5%
Website www.kuusamo.fi

Kuusamo is a town and municipality of Finland.

It is located in the province of Oulu and is part of the Northern Ostrobothnia region. The municipality has a population of 16,669 (31 December 2009)[2] and covers an area of 5,808.95 square kilometres (2,242.85 sq mi) of which 830.35 km2 (320.60 sq mi) is water.[1] The population density is 3.35 inhabitants per square kilometre (8.7 /sq mi).

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. The 2005 World Championships of Freestyle Skiing was held in Kuusamo. Kuusamo Airport is located 6 kilometres (4 mi) 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 forest. 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 territory 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.


View from Iivaara (170375758).jpg

The centre of Kuusamo is only a small part of the municipality. Kuusamo lies in the east of Finland in Oulu Province on the border with Russia. The neighboring municipalities of Kuusamo are Suomussalmi in the south, Taivalkoski and Posio in the west, Salla in the north and Russia in the east. The nearest large towns are Rovaniemi, 192 kilometres (119 mi) northwest, and Oulu 215 km (134 mi) southwest. The distance to the capital Helsinki is 796 km (495 mi).

Kuusamo covers an area of 5,808.95 square kilometres (2,242.85 sq mi) of which 830.35 km2 (320.60 sq mi) is water.[1] 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 municipality consists of sparsely populated, mostly wooded areas. Therefore, the population density of Kuusamo is only 3.35 inhabitants per square kilometre (8.7 /sq mi). 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, Tammela, 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. The forests consist mainly of pine trees (70%) with some spruce (20%) and deciduous trees (10%). [6]. 801 km2 (309 sq mi) or 14% of the area of Kuusamo is covered by water. The largest of the 166 lakes in the area are Joukamojärvi, Kiitämä, Kitka, Kurkijärvi, Kuusamojärvi, Muojärvi and Suininki. Rivers in the area include Oulankajoki, Kitkajoki, Kuusinkijoki and Pistojoki flowing eastward to the White Sea and Iijoki westward to the Gulf of Bothnia.

The 270 km2 (100 sq mi) area of Oulanka National Park is shared between northern Kuusamo and neighboring Salla municipality. The landscape is dominated by pine forests, Oulankajoki river and its side branches with their sandbanks and rapids, and in the northern part vast marsh areas. 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. [7] Rapids in Oulankajoki include Kiutaköngäs, Taivalköngäs, Jyrävä, Niskakoski and Myllykoski. Near the southern border with Suomussalmi is the canyon lake Julma Ölkky with up to 50 m (160 ft) high cliffs.


Climate diagram of Kuusamo

The average annual temperature is −0.3 °C, annual precipitation 525 millimetres (20.7 in). The warmest month is July with an average temperature of +14.7 °C, coldest February with −13.2 °C. The coldest ever measured temperature was −40.8 °C. Kuusamo is one of the snowiest areas in Finland: the ground is snow-covered for about 200 days a year, from late October until mid-May, with a thickness of 80–90 centimetres (31–35 in).

The center of Kuusamo is located approximately 60 km (37 mi) south of the Arctic Circle, thus polar day and night play a major role. From 14 to 29 June Kuusamo has midnight sun.


On 31 December 2009 Kuusamo had 16,669 inhabitants.[2] 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 Northern and Eastern Finland, there has been marked migration to larger urban areas. The population peaked in the late 1960s at nearly 21,000 residents. With the exception of a period in the 1990s, the population has steadily declined since then.

The migration has had an effect on Kuusamo's age structure, as it is mainly young people who leave the town. For example, between 1998 and 2001, the percentage of people aged less than 15 years fell from 25% to 23%, while the share of those aged over 64 years rose from 12 to 14%.[8].

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 include forestry, reindeer husbandry, small industries and tourism. The unemployment rate, at 16.2% (2003) relatively high.

In 2002 there were 248 farms in Kuusamo. Given the climatic conditions, milk and meat production have a major role, including reindeer meat from the approximately 10,000 half-domesticated reindeer which roam the pastures in Kuusamo. The forestry and wood processing industry also employs over 1,000 people.


Ruka in winter

Around one million tourists visit Kuusamo annually.[8]. In 2002, 291,222 overnight stays were registered, 17% of which were by foreign guests. There are around 6,000 cottages (mökki) in Kuusamo, more than any other municipality in Finland.

The Ruka ski center, centered on the 492-metre Rukatunturi, is one of the largest in Finland with a total of 16,000 beds, four hotels and 28 restaurants. In addition, the guests are offered activities such as skiing, snowmobile tours or excursions with reindeer and dog sleds. Ruka benefits from a long snowy season, from mid-October to mid-June period.

In summer, Kuusamo is a popular wilderness destination for fishing, kayaking or hiking. The most famous hiking trail (as well as Finland's most popular) is Bear's Ring (Karhunkierros), which runs for 80 km (50 mi), mostly in the Oulanka National Park.


National 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.[9]

Kuusamo Airport is 6 km (4 mi) from the city center and 27 km (17 mi) 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.[10].

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.[11] 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. [12]. Ruka in 2005, the Freestyle Skiing World Cup instead.

Famous people from Kuusamo


  1. ^ a b c "Area by municipality as of 1 January 2009" (in Finnish and Swedish) (PDF). Land Survey of Finland. http://www.maanmittauslaitos.fi/Pintaalat_kunnittain_1.1.2009.pdf. Retrieved 20 February 2009.  
  2. ^ a b c "Population by municipality as of 31 December 2009" (in Finnish and Swedish). Population Information System. Population Register Center of Finland. http://www.vrk.fi/vrk/files.nsf/files/4AD425C09E8E9093C22576AA001D7112/$file/091231.htm. Retrieved 13 January 2010.  
  3. ^ "Population according to language and the number of foreigners and land area km2 by area as of 31 December 2008". Statistics Finland's PX-Web databases. Statistics Finland. http://pxweb2.stat.fi/Dialog/varval.asp?ma=060_vaerak_tau_107_fi&ti=V%E4est%F6+kielen+mukaan+sek%E4+ulkomaan+kansalaisten+m%E4%E4r%E4+ja+maa%2Dpinta%2Dala+alueittain++1980+%2D+2008&path=../Database/StatFin/vrm/vaerak/&lang=3&multilang=fi. Retrieved 29 March 2009.  
  4. ^ "Population according to age and gender by area as of 31 December 2008". Statistics Finland's PX-Web databases. Statistics Finland. http://pxweb2.stat.fi/Dialog/varval.asp?ma=050_vaerak_tau_104_fi&ti=V%E4est%F6+i%E4n+%281%2Dv%2E%29+ja+sukupuolen+mukaan+alueittain+1980+%2D+2008&path=../Database/StatFin/vrm/vaerak/&lang=3&multilang=fi. Retrieved 28 April 2009.  
  5. ^ "List of municipal and parish tax rates in 2010". Tax Administration of Finland. 24 November 2009. http://www.vero.fi/download.asp?id=5853;25512. Retrieved 13 January 2010.  
  6. ^ Metsänhoitoyhdistys Kuusamo [1] (Finn.)
  7. ^ Animals in Oulanka (finnische Forstbehörde, engl.)
  8. ^ a b Kuusamo Taskutieto (Info-Broschüre der Stadt Kuusamo) [2](finn.)
  9. ^ Finnischer Grenzschutz: Rajanylitysmäärät itärajan rajanylityspaikoilla (Anzahl der Grenzüberschreitungen an den Grenzübergängen der Ostgrenze, finn.)
  10. ^ Finavia [3] (engl.)
  11. ^ Black Edelweiss, Johann Voss, Aberjona Press, 2002.
  12. ^ Pressemitteilung der Veranstalter [4]

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Kuusamo [1] is a city in Oulu province.

Get in

By car

Most people arrive to Kuusamo with their own car. You can get a taxi from Kuusamo or Ruka. Own car is quite necessary because of the long distances.

By train

The nearest train station in in Oulu, from where there are connecting buses timed to train arrivals.

By bus

It takes 3 hours by bus [2] from Oulu to Kuusamo. There are regular connections from Rovaniemi and Kajaani, too.

By plane

There are scheduled flights from Kuusamo airport (IATA: KAO) [3] to Helsinki.

Get around

Driving around during weekend is popular among the youth. Snowmobiling is wery popular in Kuusamo so there are hundreds of kilometres snowmobiling routes.

  • Oulanka Natural Park [4] and [5]
  • Ruka, [6] one of the biggest ski centers in Finland is situated in the municipality of Kuusamo and is its main tourist attraction.
  • Karhunkierros (The trail of the bear) [7], is the most popular hiking trail in Finland. The 80 km long trail leads through two beautiful national parks. There are also several shorter variations of the trail. The trail is easily accessible from the Kuusamo airport with a bus that takes you to the beginning of the trail. Although the difficulty level is quite easy, you should still be prepared with a decent map and enough food. Water is not a problem, as there are plenty of rivers that have clean and drinkable water. There are several open wilderness huts (autiotupa), where you can stay for free. The huts tend to get full during peak season (end of June to beginning of August), so you should consider bringing your own tent.
  • Cross Country Service Kontio [8]


Famous spoonbait manufacturer Kuusamon Uistin is located on Kuusamo, factory shop is located on the plant. There is much handcraft business on the Ruka and central Kuusamo.

  • Leipäjuusto a regional fresh cheese. Also known as Finnish squeaky cheese because the cheese is "squeaking" when one's chewing it.
  • Poronkäristys, sauteed reindeer. A speciality of Lapland, but also available in the northern part of the Oulu province.


There is many bars and pubs in Ruka and Kuusamo, Ruka is famous of it´s dance and karaoke bar ZONE.

  • Kuusamon tropiikki [9], a spa hotel. Kylpyläntie 1. tel. +358 (0)20 1234 906

Get out

Locals don't like arrogant tourists, especially when they are intoxicated, so be polite to them and they are polite to you. All you need is a common sense.

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