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The Kolovesi Region – The Most Interesting Destination in the Lake District of Finland

The unique Saimaa Lakeland nature is the essence of the Kolovesi region, attracting travellers, time and again, from near and far. The variety of scenery on the water routes is, in addition to the vast forests, the dominating characteristic of the area, as almost a third of the region is covered by water. The waters naturally vary in character, but it is safe to say that the water routes of the Kolovesi region interconnect a number of the most valuable of Lakeland nature protectorates in Europe. No other travel region in the lake district of Finland has such a high proportion of water areas that have been included in the Natura 2000 network of the European Union.

The pearl of this internationally significant whole of nature reserves is the national park of Kolovesi, established in 1990 The most endangered seal in the world and symbol of our region, the Saimaa ringed seal, dwells in deep and clear waters of Kolovesi The number of Saimaa ringed seals per square kilometre is the highest in Finland in Kolovesi, which is why the probability of sighting this rare creature is better here than anywhere else. The park itself, with its wondrous scenery, rock paintings dating back to the Stone Age and motor boat restrictions, is an excellent destination for canoeists. Further information on the park is available at Information Cabin Kolovesi in Enonkoski or the Nestori – Saimaa Nature Centre in Savonlinna in the summer and the Lakeland Centre Oskari in Rantasalmi all year round. The Joutenvesi waters to the west of the national park and the Enonvesi and Pyyvesi water route extending south, all the way to Paasivesi have been included in the protected habitat of the Saimaa ringed seal. In addition to canoeists they are suitable for boaters. Paasivesi is special due to its history, as the basin of the large open water is an ancient crater created by the collision of a meteorite.

The Heinävesi water route with its historical canals, categorised as a national landscape, is also among the best know sights of the Kolovesi region. Steam boats have plied this route connecting Savonlinna with Kuopio for over a century. A steam boat cruise is still the best and most traditional means for the modern traveller to familiarise oneself with the route. The Varistaipale canal museum provides insight into the construction and operation of the canals of Heinävesi. A Metsähallitus governed protectorate has also been established in Lake Kermajärvi, central to the Heinävesi water route. The protectorate represents an inland archipelago in its natural state and is an excellent canoeing trip destination. In addition to this, plenty of fish dwell in Lake Kermajärvi and the surrounding white water areas, making it the number one destination of all who are interested in fishing.

For culture and nature enthusiasts, the Kolovesi region has many interesting sites to offer. The best known of these include the monastery of Valamo and the convent of Lintula, both of which are located in the northern parts of the municipality of Heinävesi. The monastery and convent are open to all intrigued by the Christian orthodox faith and culture and provide the modern traveller with the facility to calm down. Another place of peace and quiet is the Monastic Protestant Community in Enonkoski, which is located in the midst of beautiful Lakeland nature near the national park of Kolovesi.

The Vuokala mill and power plant museum in Savonranta is a truly multifaceted destination for anyone interested in the history and present day culture of the area. A permanent exhibition on the fascinating history of the production of electricity and mill operations has been set up in the old Vuokalankoski power plant. The inauguration of art exhibitions held in the premises of the mill are among the highlights of the region’s cultural summers. Further knowledge of local history may be obtained in several village museums, whose location and opening hours may be obtained from municipal tourist information offices.


   Idealmainos 3/2004
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