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Karelian Cultural Enterprise (Interreg)
Funded by Euregio Karelia Neighbourhood Programme 2001-2006

Objective of the project

The project endeavoured to create conditions for the survival of the culturally significant Russian Karelian countryside and the Finnish villages of White Sea Karelia through business activities and cultural tourism, as based on their cultural heritage. The aim was to create a model for the revival work of the villages, which could also work more extensively in the wooden architectural area of Northwest Russia.

Main activities

• Restoration work of the Hietajärvi Heritage House so that it could function as a cultural centre for tourists • Construction of one ecological toilet in Paanajärvi • Design and production of two wooden boats and textiles for sale • Founding of a company (OOO Mustakyly) that specializes in the making of saunas and boats • International dissemination of publications such as multimedia products, documents and Paanajärvi book.


The completed traditional house of Hietajärvi in the style of White Sea Karelia raises a lot of admiration and interest. The interesting archive material found in the Finnish archives about the villages of Haikola and Paanajärvi was handed over to the use of the new museums of Haikola and Paanajärvi. The Haikola Museum is already operational, the building dedicated as the Paanajärvi Museum is still waiting to be restored. The building in question was supposed to be restored in this project, but for legal reasons, the traditional house of Paanajärvi was chosen instead and was completed during the project. The Cultural Ministry of Karelia has promised financial aid for the restoration of the Paanajärvi Museum building in 2009. The project included the construction of one ecological toilet in Paanajärvi; similar ones have subsequently been constructed on the request of the residents. Additionally, two boats were designed and constructed as samples, for starting export. The women of the village have also made textile works for sale. A company producing boats and saunas for export, OOO Mustakyly, was founded and will also employ several people in the future. The coffin is also coming to production. A lorry for transporting the products has been acquired for the company with a grant from the Finnish Cultural Foundation. In the target area of the project in the Republic of Karelia, a significant change in attitudes towards business enterprises has taken place during the project. The multimedia programmes about the Finnish villages of White Sea Karelia and the village of Haikola were completed and are raising interest as well as providing information and spiritual guidance to those already travelling to White Sea Karelia. The completion of the film about Vuokkiniemi was postponed to 2008, but it is fair to say that, once completed, it will raise admiration and interest to afterwards arrange a trip to the land of poems, among those who see it. Also, the English publication of the multidisciplinary book Paanajärvi raised public interest. The project succeeded in increasing interest towards White Sea Karelia, and the cultural tour operators obtained many long-lasting means to boost their operations.

Basic information