< Back to projects page

Koljonvirta – history and entrepreneurship development project
Funded by Euregio Karelia Neighbourhood Programme 2001-2006

Objective of the project

The goal of the project was to develop the Koljonvirta area located Iisalmi into a nationally and internationally attractive travel destination in cooperation with a military history and tourism network focused on Finnish and Russian tourism and research. The aim was to increase the volume of visitors by approximately 15 percent. The starting point of the project was the utilisation of the history and cultural heritage of the region.

Main activities

• Increasing and expanding both domestic and international marketing of the region by networking with other destinations of the same nature in Finland and in Russia, • Improving of the surroundings (e.g. reconditioning of a poorly insulated building at the Koljonvirta campsite for year-round use, restoration of historic memorials, creating signs for the area). • Archaeological excavations, reconditioning of the found artefacts and placing them permanently on display at the actual site of events along with material gathered from the Russian archives in Moscow. • Planning of the anniversary of the Finnish War in 2008 and preparing the associated events, • Planning of a battle demonstration in cooperation with Russian counterparts and making it an annual event.


The sculpture atelier at the Koljonvirta campsite was reconditioned and made suitable for year-round use. Historic artefacts related to the Finnish War and the battle of Koljonvirta were collected there as a permanent historic exhibition. A majority of the artefacts were obtained from excavations that took place both during and prior to the start of the project. Artefacts found during excavations were also borrowed from The National Museum of Finland. In addition, the Finnish War and its famous battle is demonstrated in the exhibition using posters, maps and images. Material was gathered throughout the project. Historical material was also obtained from the war archives in Moscow. In addition, historic memorials and their surroundings at Koljonvirta were restored and had informational signs created as part of the project. The restoration of the wartime battle station was not completed due to lack of research information. More thorough archaeological excavations must be completed in the area if the restoration is to be carried out in the future. A preliminary event calendar was produced for the honorary year of the Finnish War in 2008. The responsibility for the events of the honorary year was transferred to the Town of Iisalmi upon completion of the project. In addition, three historic products were designed in cooperation with businesses from the area during the project. The final rehearsal of the historic battle demonstration was completed in the summer of 2007 as part of the project. The actual honorary year battle demonstration was completed after the project as planned. The battle demonstration participants included groups of enthusiasts from Russia. The target number of visitors was not reached during the project. However, the improved profile of Koljonvirta had a positive effect on businesses. The Town of Iisalmi continued to develop the region after the project, and hotel stays and the number of visitors to the Koljonvirta campsite also increased after project completion.

Basic information


Koljonvirta – history and entrepreneurship development project


2004-12-31 - 2007-12-31

Total Budget / Programme funding

243 917 € / 163 609 €

Lead partner

Town of Iisalmi, Development Unit
Lead partner web-site


Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Karelia
Non-Commercial Partnership Interkultura
Upper-Savo Development Ltd
Koljonvirta Camping/Yösalmi Oy
Raatteen Portti
National Board of Antiquities
University of Oulu
The Association for Military History in Finland