Build in the 17th century, the castle that stands on the riverside of Kajaaninjoki, controlled the Swedish frontiers in the east and protected the Gulf of Bothnia coast. During that time Finland was part of the Swedish kingdom. In the Great Northern war in 1716, the Russians who had invaded Finland blew up the Kajaani Castle; it was never rebuilt, and now only the ruins tell about the history.
In 1825, the Russian tsar under who’s reign Finland used to be, gave permission to build the tar canal on the rapids of the Kajaaninjoki. It was a great relief to the oarsmen, who’s job was to transport tar barrels through the rivers to Oulu by rowing. However, it wasn’t until 1847 that the project was finished.
Kajaani has excellent well-maintained and extensive snowmobile tracks. Kainuu Snowmobile Association is in charge of the tracks, and a map of the routes can be found from their website.
Kajaani Evangelic Lutheran Church
The majestic Neo-Gothic church was built in 1987. The wooden building is rich in decorations, and the roof trusses were copied from the ones in London Westminster Hall. Located in the centrum of the town, the church’s slender, Italian baroque inspired tower can be seen from far.
Elias Lönnrot’s cottage and herb garden
Elias Lönnrot travelled all around Finland during the early 19th century, gathering stories and poetry. Based on his notes he wrote Kalevala, Finland’s national epic, in 1835. Elias Lönnrot’s summer cottage Hauhola, that is on the grounds of Hotel Kajaani, is surrounded by a herb garden, planted by the Elias Lönnrot Society, that cherishes the heritage of the author. A permanent exhibition about the life of Lönnrot is held in Eino Leino’s house.
Eino Leino’s House
Armas Einar Leopold Lönnbohm, or Eino Leino, as he is widely known, is the national poet of Finland. The house exhibitis photos of the life and works of Eino Leino and Elias Lönnrot. There is also a book exhibiton of Eino Leino’s poetry and stories, as well as a café and a shop of local cultural products. The house hosts various art related events, workshops, and parties, such as poetry reading, theatre, and dancing.
In the summer time a traditional playground is built to the site, and sheep room freely on the fields. Steps and duckboards lead from the riverbank to the pier.
Kajaani Art Museum
Located in the former police station designed by architect Eero Pitkänen, the Kajaani Art Museum is a grand piece of pure functionalism from 1936. Temporary exhibitions include works from local as well as renowned international artists.
Paltanniemi and Kesäniemi Beaches
By the shores of Lake Oulunjärvi is a natural beach that can be accessed by walking on wooden slats. The shallow and clean waters, as well as the well-maintained beach with beach-huts, volleyball courts, playground, and so on, make the place perfect for spending some leisure time at.
Kesäniemi beach on the shore of river Kajaanijoki is also popular, and features a beach volleyball court, jetty, jumping platforms, and beach huts. Life guards work at Kesäniemi during the summer.
World’s northernmost UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rokua Geopark, is an amazing area which’s terrain was molded by the latest age ice. In addition to many interesting and beautiful nature sights and attractions, the area features several cultural destinations, as well as places to eat and drink.
Steamship S/S Kouta
One of the best ways to experience the Oulunjärvi lake is to go on the lake! The 97-year old steamship S/S Kouta takes visitor on cruisings to the lake, and the route passes the same views that inspired the Finnish poet Eino Leino and the compiler of the national epos Kalevala, Elias Lönnrot.
The Ärjä island has almost 10 kilometres of coast line, most of which is natural sand beach. The island is uninhabited, but it used to be a popular summer holiday place for many families, and many summer cottages were built on it in the 1920s and 1930s. It is known, that the island used to be a hiding place for robbers, that were waiting for men rowing tar returning from Oulu, and robbing them of anything valuable!
The holiday resort of Vuokatti offers a variety of activities, from an Angry Birds activity and adventure park and husky safaris to skiing, hiking, and horse riding. You can easily make a day trip to Vuokatti, or rent a villa or cottage with a group of friends!
Finnish Baseball: Sotkamon Jymy
In the Kainuu region, baseball is a big thing, if not even the most popular sport. And the locals are doing extremely well in baseball too: the local team, Sotkamon Jymy, is one of the best in Finland. Spend an evening going to see their game.
Kajaani Poetry Week
As the home town of the poet Eino Leino, also nicknamed “the fairy tale uncle”, there is no better place for the annual poetry week than Kajaani. The 5-day event is popular, and brings poets as well as visitors from all around Finland to the town. Go enjoy the urban and artistic atmosphere, or get some inspiration to your own works!
See Visit Kajaani for more amazing things to experience!