These parts of Russian Karelia have a special significance for Finns and a constant stream of Finnish – mainly male – tourists visit the area. These parts never politically belonged to Finland but they have a strong connection to the Finnish national epic Kalevala. Elias Lönnrot – collector of Finnish oral poetry best known for composing Kalevala found some of the best poem singers in this part of Karelia and in Uhtua – or as it has been called since 1961 – Kalevala. But this is probably not the main reason for the tourism today. More important is war history: Finnish troops got as far as the Kis-kis (previous posting) hill 18 km from Uhtua in the ‘Continuation War’ i.e. WW II. So the main interest are the traces of war history.
Before WW II Russian was not commonly spoken in this region but now it is the main language. Mainly the elderly still speak Karelian – a language close to Finnish – but it is still possible for a Finn to travel in the region without speaking Russian – you will always be able to find someone who speaks sufficient Finnish.
These three pictures are from Kalevala village (former Uhtua) lake Keski-Kuittijärvi.
Luomuvientirenkaan toukokuun kokous pidettiin rajan takana Kalevalassa. Alue ei tosin lähiaikoina tule olemaan luomuviennin kohdealuetta, mutta muuten monessakin mielessä mielenkiintoinen alue.
In May we made a business visit to South Korea and fortunately reserved some extra time to see some of the country. The Folk Village – in the proximity of Seoul – can really be recommended for a visit as it gives you some insight into the traditional way of life in Korea. The pictures in this posting are from there.
The kitchen is central in the Korean house – even more than in most other cultures. Koreans have developed a floor heating system with air canals under the floor and the heat originating from the kitchen fire place. Hence the kitchen is below the floor level of the rest of the house and the fire place is even lower. Korean winters are cold and without this system it would not have been possible to sit on the floor. (In Finland we certainly needed chairs – floors were freezing cold.)
Each room has a door to the outside – not necessarily to the neighbouring room.
Pre-school children learning about their history and heritage.
Spinning silk from the silk pupa.
Korean farmers’ folk dances.
The wealth of the house was in the big jars of fermented vegetables- f.ex kim-chi – and soy sauces. Even today you can see these jars on the roofs and terraces of houses in Korean towns.