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Karelian Culture

You Will Experience Genuine Karelian Hospitality in Parppeinvaara Bardic Village

In Parppeinvaara Bardic Village, you can enjoy the features of Karelian culture all in one place: kantele music, handicrafts, Orthodoxy, and a traditional menu. Parppeinvaara also shows you a good piece of war history. Nature is present in Ilomantsi, so you will get to know a bit of flora and fauna, too.

You will find a collection of Karelian style and historic buildings. In the Bard’s House the guide will tell you about Karelian traditions and play the kantele, our national instrument. Museum buildings of the Korhonen family and the bard Mateli Kuivalatar show an exhibition of the oral tradition of folklore. Finally, you will get to know Major General Raappana at the exhibition of the Border General’s Cabin which was a war-time operational headquarters.

You can let the silence surround you in a small Orthodox All Saints Chapel or explore the relationship between people and nature at the Mesikkä Animal Museum. In the Restaurant Parppeinpirtti you can enjoy a traditional Karelian menu with a modern twist.

Parppeinvaara Bardic Village


Mateli and the Kanteletar

Mateli Kuivalatar was a bard, or a rune singer. She sang her poems to Elias Lönnrot at her porch in Ilomantsi in 1838. They reflect her hardships and poverty, visible even today in the collection of lyrical folk poems, the Kanteletar, compiled by Lönnrot. He spent two days writing down Mateli’s poems, some of which are also found in our national epic, the Kalevala.

You will get to see Mateli’s life and poetry in her museum buildings from her birth home.

Niin on pitkät miun pihani
kuin on pitkät pilven rannat,
niin on kaiat kaivotieni
kuin on kaiat kaaren rannat,
sinne oikein oveni
kunne oikein otavat.

My farmyard is as long
As the wisp of a cloud,
My path to the well is as narrow
As the stripe of a rainbow,
My doors open towards the heavens
Where the Big Dipper