WELCOME TO GEOPARK IN THE SUMMER

Discover the fascinating two billion years of history of Geopark. Hiking and cycling routes as well as nature attractions invite you to explore Lauhanvuori-Hämeenkangas UNESCO Global Geopark.

TWO NATIONAL PARKS AND OTHER WONDERFUL NATURE SITES

Beautiful national parks

Lauhanvuori and Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Parks, known for their beautiful scenery, are located in the Geopark area.

You can travel back in time to the past on the easy routes of Lauhanvuori National Park. The number one sight of Lauhanvuori is Kivijata, an impressive stone field formed of rare sandstone. On Lauhanvuori you may also see Finnish forest deer, for example.

Photo: Sannamari Ratilainen / Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland, Lauhanvuori National Park

In Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park you may experience magnificent wild mire nature. Kauhaneva’s duckboard route leads you to the heart of the mire. The path of Katikankanjoni takes you into the mysterious ravine shaded by spruces.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Authentic mire nature

Haapakeidas mire reserve is the largest and most diverse mire area in Geopark. In the early summer on the hiking trails the air is filled with the scent of wild rosemary. You may watch birds in observation towers or on duckboard trails. Read more about birds in our article.

There are several mire destinations within the Geopark area that are also suitable for children. See the best sites and tips in our article.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Haapakeidas

Versatile nature activities

Hämeenkangas offers tens of kilometers of easy-going routes with many resting places as well as great natural attractions. Hiking, biking, canoeing – there are diverse nature sports opportunities in Hämeenkangas.

Photo: Sofia Sillanpää, Hämeenkangas

Rocky hills and small waterways

Climb the observation towers of the rocky hills and gaze to the wide forest and mire landscapes. There are many creeks, ponds and meandering small rivers in Geopark, too. Thus the area offers experiences for e.g. canoeists and fishermen as well.

Read more about Geopark’s diverse destinations on our website.

Photo: Sofia Sillanpää, Käskyvuori

Discover the cultural heritage

The cultural sites of Geopark tell about the common history of the people and nature of the area.  Discover Geopark’s diverse museums, unique architecture, traditional churches and art at the Kankaanpää Art Circle or along the roads.

The creativity of the area’s residents becomes visible on the Route of Arts. The joyful contemporary folk art that change every year can be seen, for example in Karvia and Parkano. You will find the most interesting places to visit in our brochure.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Alpon savanni

GEOPARK'S SITES TELL THE UNIQUE HISTORY OF THE AREA

ENJOY NATURE IN GEOPARK

Take a hike on the trails

Geopark’s trails take you in the middle of nature to see the best attractions. Geopark offers both easy and family-friendly trails as well as more demanding routes suitable for multi-day hikes with overnight stays.

Geopark’s hiking trails are compiled in Geopark’s brochure (in Finnish).

Photo: Lauri Kurki, Lauhanvuori National Park

Two Billion Year Tours cycling route

On Geopark’s new Two Billion Year Tours cycling route, you will get to know 1 900 million years of Finnish history in the best possible way – by cycling through it. The routes connect Geopark’s most significant places to visit and the most beautiful landscapes, as well as municipal centers and the best tourist services.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Jämijärvi

The three long Traveller routes going along the roads offer overnight adventures for experienced cyclists. The shorter Enjoyer routes are suitable for day trips for families, for example. Real adventures await on the Adventurer routes on mountain bike trails. You can cycle to Geopark’s routes from EuroVelo 10 route and from Järvien reitit cycling routes.

Read more about Geopark’s cycling routes and cycling services on our website and in our brochure (both currently in Finnish).

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kihniö

Enjoy by the campfire

A snack by the campfire is one of the highlights of the nature trip. Make it luxury and order a ready meal for your family or group to the campfire, or grab a snack from the area’s cafes or restaurants.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Käskyvuori

There are lots of great places in Geopark to take a break by the campfire. Most sites have firewood freely available to visitors. Campfires are only allowed at marked campfire sites. Please notice that it is strictly prohibited to set fire during a forest or grass fire warning. Check the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s website for warnings. You can find the campfire sites on the map.

Photo: Niina Rautiainen / NR Visuals, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Spend the night in nature

Spend the night in a tent or hammock and experience the magical atmosphere of the Geopark’s summer nights and early mornings. Please note that camping in protected areas is only allowed in specific areas. You can find site-specific instructions on the nationalparks.fi website. There are also very nice commercial camping sites available in Geopark.

Photo: Laura Vanzo / Visit Tampere, Korsukylä

UNIQUE SUMMER EVENTS AND VERSATILE TOURIST SERVICES

Geopark’s summer is full of events: open-air concerts and summer theater as well as art exhibitions and sports. Willi Karvia, for example, offers great concerts and theater experiences at the Skantz Cultural Center, of which architecture is inspired by a 17th-century fort.

Kankaanpää has a long Finnish baseball tradition. You can feel the atmosphere of the game in the arena of the team of Kankaanpään Maila.

Photo: Niina Rautiainen / NR Visuals, Skantz Cultural Center

During the summer, the villages of Geopark come to life. For example, cafes, restaurants, boutiques and farm shops attract tourists and residents of the area to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Karvia

Enjoy Geopark destinations on a guided tour. With an expert local guide, you’ll find the best routes and sites and hear related stories. With a guide, you will get the most out of your trip. Companies also rent equipment such as canoes and electric mountain bikes to your independent adventures.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Promote your well-being on a guided wellness trip to nature. Complete your nature experience in sauna and with pampering treatments. Relax in the soft steam of the smoke sauna or more common but still traditional sauna by a lake, for example. Enjoy the gentle treatments made with the peat of the area’s mires as well.

Read more on our webpage. You can also find the services on the map. You can easily buy experiences and services through the Geopark’s online store.

Photo: Laura Vanzo / Visit Tampere, Kirkkokadun Hyvän Olon Keskus

GEOPARK IS AT ITS BEST IN THE SUMMER

SOME TOP PICKS FROM OUR CURRENT OFFER

Human in Nature event in August

The traditional Human in Nature event will be held in Parkano in late August. The theme of this year’s event is biodiversity. From Thursday to Sunday, the event offers a high-quality seminar, guided tours in Geopark, a tradition day at SyVilla and a family event at the Forest Museum. Read more on the Visit Parkano website.

Photo: Hanna Tuuri /Tuuri-Tiedotus, Parkano Forest Museum

Joyful gifts from More Joy

More Joy offers e.g. dishcloths with nature-themed patterns made out of natural fibers. Joyful patterns are created in collaboration with different designers or according to the customer’s wishes. In the factory store you will find both gifts and nice craft packages for children. Read more on the More Joy’s website.

Photo: More Joy

Rental equipment from Kesport Kauhajoki

Kesport Kauhajoki offers electric bicycle and sup board rental. In addition to rental equipment, you can buy all the necessary equipment for your active nature holiday in the shop. Read more on Kesport Kauhajoki’s website.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Lauhanvuori National Park

 

Outar offers experiences with natural colors

Outar offers courses (also online) related to natural colors. Natural colors are suitable for harmonious creative moments. From plants you can extract a lot of fascinating dyes that can be used in crafts and art in many ways.

For example, you may attend the Watercolors and Inks from Natural Colors course in Parkano on Saturday 11th of June. Prepare your own inks from plants and make paintings with them. In the course, you will learn how to make pigment powders, watercolors and inks from plants you have collected, as well as from plant color extracts. Read more on Outar’s website.

Photo: Ronja Kuokkanen / Outar

The Salaisen Puutarhan Majatalo Guesthouse and Valkoinen Puu Café & Shop

The guesthouse is located in Kauhajoki, in a former parsonage built in the 1890s, surrounded by a wild garden. The building has been luxuriously refurbished with a mix of Scandinavian bohemianism and antiques. The guesthouse offers six unique double rooms with soft beds and beautiful décor. Read more on the website of The Salaisen Puutarhan Majatalo Guesthouse.

Photo: The Salaisen Puutarhan Majatalo Guesthouse

Charming Valkoinen Puu Café & Shop is located just a bit over a kilometer from the the guesthouse. In the café you can enjoy delicacies made in the own bakery along the same street. The café’s cakes and pastries are known for their delicacy. Their authentic flavors are created with American and South Ostrobothnian family recipes and local ingredients. The most famous of the cakes is the Chocolate Cake of the Secret Garden, baked on an organic spelt and also served at the guesthouse’s breakfast. Read more on the website of Valkoinen Puu Café & Shop.

Photo: Valkoinen Puu Café & Shop

Meggala Winery

Meggala Winery produces high-quality, aromatic and tasty wines with a passion for professional winemaking and domestic ingredients. You can enjoy Meggala’s drinks at the farm’s own restaurant or buy from the farm shop. In the restaurant and café you can also enjoy snacks with coffee, for example. Meals are served on restaurant days and on request.

In the summer, you can take part in Meggala’s sparkling wine and beer yoga and summer bingo, or take part in a wine tasting and winery tour. During Midsummer, Meggala offers happy summer atmosphere, as people gather for the Midsummer market. Attend also karaoke terrace dance and taste local burgers. Read more on Meggala’s website.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva

Visoko’s meditative videos

Take a meditative, about 15-minute virtual trip to Finnish nature with the help of Visoko’s videos. The virtual trip will deepen your connection with nature and you will respect nature more. Your vitality will increase, you will calm down and your stress management will improve. Get a 30% discount on videos in the Visoko’s online store with the code LHGeo. Read more on Visoko’s website.

Photo: Visoko

Experience authentic countryside in the Luomajärvi Horse Inn

Enjoy Southern Europe inspired meals in the Luomajärvi Horse Inn’s quality restaurant. Once a month in the summer, the inn’s restaurant serves delicious Spanish, Italian and French flavors.

The inn offers a wide range of summer activities in a real old-fashioned rural setting. There are e.g. children’s horseback riding, family-friendly Day at the Farm programs, rustic horse-drawn carriage rides and riding hikes available. You can also rent fatbikes and electric touring bikes for your individual adventures on Geopark’s cycling routes. Read more on the Luomajärvi Horse Inn’s website.

Photo: The Luomajärvi Horse Inn

Open Yards in Jämijärvi

Get into the local way of life in a small rural village of Jämijärvi on Saturday 11th of June. The residents open the gates of their yards to visitors and offer a wide range of activities such as flea markets pop-up cafes, concerts and craft workshops. Take part in a fishing competition or go on a boat trip on an old wooden boat. You can also climb the church tower with permission! You can find the map and timetable on the website of the organizer.

Photo: Tuomo Leikkola

Culture in the Finnish capital of art, Kankaanpää

Explore the unique Circle of Art by walking along the Art Trail or cycling around it. The Circle of Art consists of more than a hundred works of art permanently placed in the urban environment. IN the Circle of Art the work of art, the environment and the landscape meet in the finest possible way.

Kankaanpää Market Square is popular meeting place for the residents of wide region. The market is open all year round on Thursdays and also on summer Saturdays. At the end of the summer, the traditional Hörhiäisviikko event offers a wide range of music, art, sport, well-being and a nice market spirit. Read more on the City of Kankaanpää’s website.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva

Kankaanpää Art Association’s brick workshops

Design your own brick in the Art Association’s workshop. The bricks will be placed in the brick wall of the Circle of Art. In May, the Kankaanpää Art Association organized these workshops. It is still possible to participate in the workshop on Saturday 28th af May from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Inquiries: Kankaanpää Art Association

Photo: Laura Koivumäki

GEOPARK IS CHARMING IN THE SUMMER

OUTDOOR ETIQUETTE

Please, always mind nature and other people during your nature trips. Respect nature in every way and keep your pets in leash. Prevent the waste in advance and bring your rubbish from the nature and sort them properly.

Please, use the marked routes that lead you to the best sites. Using marked trails prevent the harmful effects on nature elsewhere. Each mode of transport has its own routes. Stay in the terrain only in areas designated for camping. Read more on the website.

Photo: Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland, Outdoor Etiquette

EXPERIENCE THE GEOPARK THROUGH A FILM

Get to know the inhabitants, the culture and the nature of the area through the Geopark’s In a blink of an eye promotional film. What we see in a blink of an eye is the result of billions of years of geological evolution.

Watch the video on YouTube and enjoy!

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Siikainen

Main photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva

Other photos: Aili Raudla-Majakangas, Terttu Hermansson

#lhgeopark #unescoglobalgeoparks #europeangeoparks #finnishgeoparks  #unesco #twobillionyeartours #kahdenmiljardinvuodenmatkalla #outdoor #retkeily #luontomatkailu #pyörämatkailu #cyclingtourism #hyvinvointialuonnosta #taiteidenreitti #visittampere #visitlakeus #visitpori #visitsatakunta

WELCOME TO GEOPARK!

Christmas atmosphere in the Geopark

Come to the Geopark and enjoy quiet nature by a campfire. Visit the cafés and restaurants in the area. From the boutiques you will buy the most wonderful gifts for Christmas. Feel the peaceful Christmas atmosphere of the Geopark!

Calm down in the Geopark

Forget the hurry in nature in the Geopark. Take a hike and explore the destinations that tell the unique story of the Geopark. The scenery tells about the development of the area from an ancient mountain range to the present landscape with vast open mires.

Photo: Ismo Nousiainen / Taikapolku, Kauhaneva, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

The springs of Hämeenkangas which are open throughout the year, the enchanting spruce gorge of Katikankanjoni, the frosty mires and numerous other magnificent Geopark sites call you for a visit.  Lauhanvuori and Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Parks, for example, are great excursion destinations even in winter. In Lauhanvuori National Park you can even meet Finnish forest deers!

Photo: Ismo Nousiainen / Taikapolku, Lauhanvuori National Park

 

Neva-Lyly is a favorite destination for families with children. Take a hike on the duckboard trail and get to know the story of Wilpertti Gnome who lives in a tiny hut. Eat snacks by a campfire in lean-to or by the lake. In Neva-Lyly you may even heat up the sauna!

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Neva-Lyly

Mountainbikers enjoy riding a bike on the GeoBike route (in Finnish) in Lauhanvuori National Park, on the needle paths of the ridges on Hämeenkangas (in Finnish), the route (in Finnish) in the cultural and forest landscapes of Kauhajoki from Hyyppä valley’s landscape area to Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park and on the wilderness route (in Finnish) from Pyhäniemi to Käsyvuori. The routes are easy to ride and suitable for beginners, too.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Lauhanvuori National Park

You can rent a bicycle from our area (the links in Finnish):

Photo: e-bike Holidays, Pyhäniemi

When there is little snow, the Geopark’s routes and destinations are in use and accessible. However, the Lauhanvuori observation tower will be closed for the winter for safety reasons. When there is enough snow, the Geopark has great opportunities for skiing and sledding.

 Learn more about the Geopark’s destinations and routes on our Discover pages.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Kylmänmyllynlähde, Hämeenkangas

Experience the local culture

In the Geopark you will also discover the fascinating culture of the area. Take a tour in the villages and chat with the locals. For example, the host of Kammi-kylä may tell you stories about former inhabitants of the area. Get to know e.g. the Circle of Art and admire the Geopark’s cultural sites and landscapes in their winter outfits. Learn more about Geopark’s cultural landscapes and significant buildings.

Learn more about the Geopark’s destinations and routes on our Discover pages.

Photo: The town of Kauhajoki, Hämes-Havunen

CALM DOWN IN THE GEOPARK

Enjoy the services and your stay in the Geopark

The companies in our area offer high-quality services to travelers in the area. Check out the wide range on our Services page.

Photo: Ismo Nousiainen / Taikapolku

Visit the Geopark’s cafés and restaurants, where pure local ingredients such as berries, mushrooms and game are prepared to tempting delicacies. You can also buy take away snacks from cafes and restaurants and eat them in the woods.

Photo: Ismo Nousiainen / Taikapolku

In the farm stores and boutiques, you may purchase unique gifts. Buy for yourself or a loved one, for example, soft socks woven from local sheep’s wool or delicacies made from local ingredients. A gift card of a Geopark enterprice is a great gift idea!

Photo: Noora Mäkinen / Tilapuoti Dyrfinna

Take a local guide with you on your trip and you will enjoy Geopark to the fullest. With a local guide, the tour is comfortable and safe, you will find the best routes and the most fascinating destinations and hear stories. Information on local guides can be found on our Activities page.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Alkkianvuori

It is shown that staying and exercising in nature promote health and well-being. You can make the best of the well-being effects of nature under the guidance of dedicated experts. After outdoor activities, you will pamper yourself with, for example, peat treatment and bathing in the smoke sauna and the hot tub in the woods. Learn more on our Wellness page.

Photo: Laura Vanzo / Visit Tampere, Kirkkokadun Hyvän Olon Keskus

When the evening comes, it is wonderful to relax in the warmth of the fireplace in a cozy cottage. High-quality and varied accommodation options from cottages to hotels are available throughout the Geopark area. Learn more on our Accommodation page.

Photo: Pyhäniemi Wellbeing

Some gems of the current supply of companies in the area

Lauha’s Christmas delicacies and sauna experiences

Lauha offers Christmas delicacies and sauna experiences in Honkahovi and the Lauhansarvi Nature Tourist Center next to Lauhanvuori National Park. Please, make a table reservation in advance. You can also order Christmas food for your own occasions and choose the delicacies you like from several different menu options. For example, try the GEOfood menus, which are based on regional dishes such as local game, berries and root vegetables.

In Lauhansarvi, you can also enjoy a variety of sauna experiences. Book a smoke sauna, a peat sauna or a sauna with a bath for your family or group. Accomplish your sauna evening with tasty meals. Learn more on Lauha’s website (in Finnish).

Photo: Lauhatuotanto

An authentic country Christmas in Luomajärvi Horse Inn

Experience the Christmas atmosphere in the idyllic rural setting in Luomajärvi Horse Inn. The farm’s horses, ponies and other domestic animals, as well as the top-class restaurant invite you to enjoy and relax. Horse Inn offers e.g. horse rides with delicious snacks by the campfire. Also remember the gift cards (in Finnish) of the Horse Inn.

A wonderful Christmas lunch is served in the restaurant on 24th of December. Please, book your table for Christmas lunch in advance. You can also spend a memorable country Christmas in the Inn with its unique accommodations, meals and programs. Learn more on the Inn’s website (in Finnish).

Photo: Luomajäri Horse Inn

Come to the Horse Inn’s Christmas market On Sunday, December 19, 2021. In the old barn where stable lanterns twinkle, the products of local craftsmen and farms are sold. Rice porridge and Christmas pastries are enjoyed in the Christmas café, and more meaty delicacies are served in the yard. Taste also homemade Christmas glogg and glühwein. Learn more on the Inn’s Facebook page (in Finnish).

Photo: Luomajäri Horse Inn

Delicacies at Café Postelli

Pop in to the atmospheric Café Postelli located next to the famous market place in Kankaanpää! The red-brick, sympathetic, former post office built in the 1930s is an attraction in itself.

The café serves tempting savory and sweet delicacies. The pastries are made on site by Postelli’s own baker. Order the most beautiful biscuits and tasty cakes and loafs for your own Christmas table as well! Learn more on Postelli’s website (in Finnish).

Photo: Café Postelli

Meggala Winery’s Christmas shop with wines and gifts

Buy wonderful local wines, mulled wine and ciders for your Christmas table from the winery Meggala. You can also taste Meggala’s drinks in the winery’s own, atmospheric café-restaurant.

In addition to drinks, you can also buy pastries from Julia’s bakery and local handicrafts for yourself or for a gift. Meggala’s elves welcome you to the farm shop every day (except Mondays) and especially on Sat 18.12. for the winery’s Christmas market. Learn more on the Meggala Winery’s website (in Finnish).

Photo: Meggala Winery

Fabulous Christmas in Valkoinen Puu Cafe & Shop

Valkoinen Puu Cafe & Shop along the main street of the town of Kauhajoki, in the former Ollonqvist commercial house, invites you to enjoy the atmosphere and famous delicacies of the café. Sea buckthorn-meringue ​cake, Lapland’s mother’s lingonberry dream cake and numerous other wonderful pastries are handmade in the café’s own bakery from local ingredients.

In the café’s shop, you can buy the most beautiful and delicious Christmas gifts pre-packaged. Handmade delicacies baked from high-quality, local, organic ingredients, jams and juices from a nearby farm, as well as ceramics from the café’s owner couple, are sure to delight the recipient of the gift. Also remember the gift cards of Valkoinen Puu! Learn more on the Valkoinen Puu website.

Photo: Valkoinen Puu

For Christmas, a unique Secret Garden Inn will open in Kauhajoki, in the former Äijälä parsonage, located nearby the Valkoinen Puu Café. You can see on Instagram (@salaisen.puutarhan.majatalo) the owner couple of Valkoinen Puu, Kirsi and Mark, preparing the Inn to receive the first guests.

Photo: Valkoinen Puu

Enjoy the Geopark’s high-quality services

Relax by a campfire

The Geopark has lots of great resting places where you can spend time by a campfire. There is firewood freely available to visitors in most of these sites. Campfires are only allowed at marked campfire sites. You can find some of these on the Retkikartta map service. You can find information on other campfire sites on the Geopark municipalities’ web pages.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Spitaalijärvi, Lauhanvuori National Park

Outdoor Etiquette

When hiking, it is always important to consider nature and other people. Respect nature in every way and keep pets in the leash. Prevent the waste in advance. Bring your debris out of the forest and sort the garbage properly. Please use marked trails and follow the rules for different modes of travel. Stay overnight only in marked camping areas.

Learn more: Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland’s Outdoor Etiquette and How to act responsibly when visiting the Geopark

Photo: Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland, Outdoor Etiquette

Please notice the valid regional corona pandemic restrictions and recommendations (Satakunta / Southern Ostrobothnia / Pirkanmaa, in Finnish) as well as Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland’s corona virus guidelines when visiting the Geopark. Please always check the realisation of events and the availability of services on the organizers’ web pages. The Geopark is not responsible for any changes.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Katikankanjoni, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Experience the Geopark through a film

Get to know the inhabitants, culture and nature of the area through the Geopark’s In a blink of an eye promotional film. What we see in a blink of an eye is the result of billions of years of geological evolution.

Watch the video on YouTube and enjoy!

Terttu Hermansson: Terttu Hermansson, Olu Bryki Raum / Suupohja Brewery in Korsukylä

Main photo: Pasi Talvitie, Hämeenkangas

Other photos: Terttu Hermansson, Pasi Talvitie

#lhgeopark #unescoglobalgeoparks #europeangeoparks #finnishgeoparks #unesco #outdoor #retkeily #luontomatkailu #hyvinvointialuonnosta #sdgs2030 #taiteidenreitti #visittampere #visitlakeus #visitpori

Welcome to the Geopark at Christmas time!

Enchanting autumn of the Geopark

In the autumn, you can experience the atmosphere of the north in the Geopark. The stunning colors of autumn, the preparation of nature for winter, the migration of birds and the sunny days call you for a hike.

Unforgettable autumn trips in the Geopark

Hiking in autumn when the air is fresh is a Geopark experience at its best. The mires are especially wonderful in the autumn. Hike the trails, cycle along the small roads or find some other way you like to explore the Geopark. You can find Geopark’s places to visit and routes on our Discover pages.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kauhaneva, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

In the fall, forests and mires offer huge amounts of wild berries such as lingonberries and cranberries, as well as a wide variety of mushrooms, which one can pick freely. In the pure nature of Geopark, you can collect these ingredients of delicious food and at the same time also benefit from the well-being effects of being in nature. Read more on our articles Mother Nature’s convenience store and Forest baths in the Geopark.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson

On a rainy autumn day or when the evenings get dark, you can just pull on the wool socks and warm up by the fireplace of the cottage. Atmospheric accommodation options in the Geopark can be found on our Accommodation page.

Photo: Korsuretket, Pikku-Itävalta

For a mire trip with children 

The Geopark has several mire sites where hiking is easy, safe and comfortable even with children. Welcome to a mire adventure in the Geopark: pack your favorite snacks in the backpack and come to duckboard trails to admire the great colors of the mires! You can find the mire sites and the best tips for children in our article.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Vaarinneva, Hämeenkangas

Bike in the Geopark

It is worth exploring the Geopark and its destinations by cycling either alone, with a friend or with a larger group. Enjoy the countryside on the small roads or the forests and mires on the mountain bike trails. The Geopark’s routes are easy and also suitable for inexperienced cyclists. Read more about our biking tips in the article (in Finnish).

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Kauhaneva, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

You can rent a bicycle from our area:

Kuva: Pasi Talvitie, bike from e-bike Holidays

Use the services and enjoy your stay

The companies in the area offer diverse, high-quality and nature-friendly tourism services for day visitors and those staying longer in the area. For further information visit our Services pages.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Alkkianvuori

Taste regional cuisine in the Geopark’s cafés and restaurants. Skilled bakers and chefs prepare delicacies in which wild berries, mushrooms and other local ingredients have a main role. In the farm stores and boutiques, you make unique purchases.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, cake from Kahvila-Konditoria Postelli

On guided tours and activities, you will enjoy the Geopark deeply. You can also rent equipment for independent adventures. After the outdoors, pamper yourself with wellness services. Stay in a cosy cottage or in a small hotel. High-quality accommodation options for a wide range of needs are available throughout the area.

Photo: UK-Majoitus

ENJOY HIGH-QUALITY AND NATURE-FRIENDLY SERVICES

Picks from the current offering of our area

By the campfire in the Alpo’s savannah

Stay at the campfire site in the Alpo’s savannah ITE art park. In the campfire site only screws and nails are new. The legs of the benches are old metal and rubber rings, and the wood used is old too. The fire is made in an old pot. The firewood used to be a barrel of oil. The campfire site can be used freely as long as safety is ensured. Read more about the Alpo’s savannah and the Arts Route (in Finnish).

Come to the Alpo’s savannah campfire site on Wed 29.9. at 12 to 1pm. and make the Savannah Rose and discuss culture and rural villages. The event is part of a nationwide Rural Parliament. Read more about the event (in Finnish).

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Alpo’s savannah

Visit the Visit Suupohja website before a trip 

The versatile and inspiring Visit Suupohja tourism website presents the offerings of Geopark’s northernmost municipalities and their surrounding municipalities also outside the Geopark area. On the website, you will find Nature Destinations and Routes in the Suupohja Region, as well as cultural sites and accommodation, food, activities and other services. Read more on the Visit Suupohja website (in Finnish).

Photo: Visit Suupohja, Hyypänjoki Valley

Probably the best chocolate cake in Finland

Is the chocolate cake of Valkoinen Puu Cafe the best in Finland? Visit the Kauhajoki café, taste this delicacy which is the most popular in the selection and decide for yourself! Baked with locally produced organic spelt, the Secret Garden’s Chocolate Cake attracts customers to Valkoinen Puu cafes up to hundreds of kilometers away.

In addition to this favorite chocolate cake, the gluten-free and lactose-free apple-caramel brita and a gluten-free, velvety chocolate dream cake suitable for vegans are also just some examples of the delicacies offered in the cafe. Read more on the Valkoinen Puu website.

Photo: Valkoinen Puu

Sauna experiences at Kirkkokatu Wellness Center

After the hike, warm up in the saunas of the Kirkkokatu Wellness Center. Children have their own fairytale sauna experience, where fun sloth, teddy bear or flower masks can be used for skin care. In the sauna for couples, you relax by candlelight and enjoy the skin-friendly complaints of organic products. Read more on the website.

Photo: Kirkkokatu Wellness Center

Experience the unique Arts Route from Kammi to Skantz

Along the Arts Route, you can visit five magnificent destinations: Kammi-kylä Village, Alpo’s savannah, Anne’s Art Café, Karvia Church and the open-air museum area, and the Skantz Cultural Center.

Each destination on the route, located in the municipalities of Kauhajoki and Karvia, has its own story. Each site is full of detailed and unique art. Take the entire 37 km route or visit individual destinations. Read more on the brochure, the map and the website (all in Finnish), and take a closer look at the Arts Route.

Photo: The Arts Route from Kammi to Skantz

Delicacies and Geonalle products in Raijanholvi

Raijanholvi offers delicious home-cooked food at the lunch buffet. Jellies and jams for the cakes are made by self from local berries. For sale are Raijanholvi’s own finalist berry meringues as well as Geonalle’s products, such as hats, kuksas, mugs, booklets and dark blueberry chocolate with Geonalle’s picture. Read more on Raijanholvi’s web pages (in Finnish).

Photo: Raijanholvi

KykyDesign’s Art Diving

Finding talent is an art that focuses on involving people. The services of KykyDesign include cultural well-being services, where the main emphasis is on promoting health and well-being.

The new concept of the autumn is an experiential Art Diving (Taidesukellus®) workshop (3 h), which is well suited for companies or hikers looking for their creativity. Now it is time to book an activity for the Christmas seasons parties as well. KykyDesigns is located in the former Yrjänäinen school in Kauhajoki, but they can also come to you if necessary! Read more on KykyDesign’s website (in Finnish).

AUTUMN IS THE BEST TIME FOR HIKING

Get yourself warm and have snacks by the campfire

Enjoy snacks by the campfire. You can also sit down to eat and admire the scenery at the beak of any stump. When sitting and eating snacks, you have time to notice even the smallest details of the environment. You can buy snacks with you from the cafés and restaurants in the area.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Lauhanvuori National Park

There are lots of great resting places in the geopark where you can spend time by the campfire. In most of the places there is firewood freely available to visitors. You can find most of the resting places on the Retkikartta map service. Information about other resting places you can find on the Geopark municipalities’ own websites.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Lauhanvuori National Park

Outdoor etiquette

When hiking, it is always important to consider nature and other people. A smart hiker respects nature in every way, keeps pets in leashes, prevents debris from forming in advance, and brings debris out of the terrain and sorts it properly.

Please use marked trails and follow the rules for different modes of travel. Stay overnight only in marked camping areas.

Photo: Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland, Outdoor Etiquette

Campfires are allowed only on marked places. Always check the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s website for current warnings. During a forest or grass fire warning, fires are strictly prohibited. Learn more about Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland’s Outdoor Etiquette.

Read more about how to act responsibly while visiting the Geopark.

Photo: Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland, Outdoor Etiquette

EXPERIENCE THE GEOPARK THROUGH A FILM

Get to know the inhabitants, the culture and the nature of the area through the Geopark’s In a blink of an eye promotional film. What we see in a blink of an eye is the result of billions of years of geological evolution.

Watch the video on YouTube and enjoy!

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Pauliina Lilja from Lilja’s Yarn Shop is knitting mittens with glass veranda pattern, Local History Museum of Siikainen

Main photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Kauhaneva, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Parks

Other photos: Terttu Hermansson

#lhgeopark #unescoglobalgeoparks #europeangeoparks #finnishgeoparks  #unesco #outdoor #retkeily #luontomatkailu #pyörämatkailu #cyclingtourism #hyvinvointialuonnosta #taiteidenreitti #visittampere #visitlakeus #visitsatakunta

WELCOME TO THE AUTUMN GEOPARK!

Built cultural environments of the Geopark

There are diverse built cultural environments in the Lauhanvuori - Hämeenkangas UNESCO Global Geopark. The area has historic countryside with peasant houses and more modern architecture.

Built cultural environment

The built cultural environment consists of  structures of a community, buildings with indoor and outdoor spaces, courtyards, parks, bridges and other elements. The built cultural environment includes both old peasant houses and modern industrial buildings. Often the unique architecture as well as the representative buildings and villages sare landmarks and emblems of their area.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Kankaanpää Academy

There are several nationally significant built environments in the Geopark area. There is representative peasant architecture in the villages of Vuorijärvi and Leppijärvi in Siikainen, Karviankylä in Karvia and in the Isojoki River Valley in Isojoki. The red brick architecture of the center of Kankaanpää and the barracks area of the Niinisalo garrison represent modern architecture.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Siikainen

The peasant architecture of Siikainen

The Siikainen area once had large forest resources and, in addition to them, good log floating opportunities to nearby sawmills. The selling of logs made the peasants wealthy. They showed prosperity by grand buildings. The gems of peasant architecture of Siikainen are decorative and angled glass porches with numerous window panes. Porches were usually decorated by itinerant builders who had gained the skills by building ships. They could get paid a coin, one mark, for every window pane.

Glass porches are beautiful but also laborious to make and maintain. It is said that there was a porch in Ylisentalo in Vuorijärvi Village with a window pane for every day of the year. The hostess of the house was very tired of washing the tiny windows. The decorative glass porch can also be found in the old elementary school in the center of Siikainen, which was built in 1882. The building has been called the porch school and today it is a local history museum.

Photo: Sari Vuorela, Siikainen Local History Museum

The main buildings of the peasant farms are long and narrow. In addition to the beautiful glass porches, the buildings are often decorated with dinner bells on the roofs. Well-preserved examples of the old building stock can be found, for example, in the villages of Vuorijärvi and Leppijärvi.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Siikainen

Hämes-Havunen

A representative example of 19th-century South Ostrobothnian peasant architecture in Kauhajoki is the Hämes-Havunen closed yard complex. The complex is part of the Hyypänjokilaakso landscape management area and is currently a popular venue. It is the best-preserved old building stock in the area and is closely linked to the history of the settlement of the Kauhajoki River.

Hämes-Havunen’s two-storey main house was built in 1827 and the small house in the 1860s. The third side of the yard is bordered by a long row of barns, and the sides of the area are bordered by animal shelters and a barn. Outside the closed yard you will find a sauna, a workshop and two barns. The buildings were laid out in the shape of a closed yard for practical reasons. The closed yard protected from meat-eating beasts. The construction method also saved space.

Photo: Kauhajoen kaupunki, Hämes-Havunen

Hämes-Havunen is located by the Kyrönjoki River. The old Kyrönkangas road from the medieval times passes the farm. It is known that Tyni Hannunpoika, the ancestor of the Havunen family, arrived along the road in the 17th century. The first building on the site was a fishing hut built by the river. Residential and other buildings were later built. Once a tavern served bypassers in Hämes-Havunen. Construction on the present site began in the 19th century.

Photo: Riitta Alapiha, Hämes-Havunen

An author and a collector of folklore Samuli Paulaharju described the settlement of Kauhajoki in 1935 as follows (in Finnish): ”Sanotaan Hämeen rintamailta, Hauhoosta tulleen ensimmäisen talontekijän näin maille, ja Hämes-Havuusen hän ryskäsi jokirantaan – tulevalle Kauhajoen rinnalle. Kolkkona korpena, rumana ryteikkönä silloin oli koko ranta, kun hauhoolainen sen otti kotopaikakseen.” 

“Mutta rintaa se nyt on. Ja komeana kohoaa nyt Hämes-Havunen rukihisten peltojensa keskellä, ja ylpeinä seisoa könnäävät varijalaat isäntänsä ja kotopaikkansa vartijoona. Siinä kaksikerroksinen tuparati, vellikello vielä harjalla, porttikäytävä pihaan, hauskat ristikkoaidat talontien kahta puolta, ja tien vieressä vanhojen aittojen sievä kunnianarvoisa kolmiyhteys. Hyvin kehtaa olla koko pitäjehen vanhimpana.” 

Photo: Riitta Alapiha, Hämes-Havunen

Hämes-Havunen is a magnificent and nationally valuable architectural heritage site. In Southern Ostrobothnia, the selling of tar made peasants wealthy. Thus it was possible to build grand residential buildings and surrounding outbuildings. Hämes-Havunen had a large amount of forest. Tar as well as animal husbandry made the farm rich. There used to be a tradition in the area that the family house should always be left to the next generation in better condition than it has been received. Thus the farms became more grand generation by generation. The municipality of Kauhajoki bought the building complex in the 1970s and it was renovated.

Photo: Riitta Alapiha, Hämes-Havunen

Sanssi Manor House

Sanssi Manor House, which currently serves as a venue and a banquet hall, is located in the center of Kauhajoki. Despite its name, the building has not been an actual mansion, but a large farm. In the 19th century, this Yli-Knuuttila farm was owned by the Von Schantz family, who came to Finland from Germany, and from which the building got its name. The main building was built in 1863.

The farm was owned by the family for over a hundred years, and during that time the farm had three different masters. All of them were well-known men in Kauhajoki and active in positions of responsibility. The family sold the manor to the municipality of Kauhajoki in 1903, and the building served as a nursing home until 1986. In 1997, Sanssinkartano was renovated to its current glory.

Photo: Sirkku Ylikoski, Sanssi Manor House

Isojoki River Valley village settlement and the church landscape

In Isojoki, the traditional South Ostrobothnian building stock can be found in the Isojoki River Valley. Isojoki was a wilderness area for a long time, until in the 16th century. During the Vaasa period, wilderness began to be inhabited and taken for cultivation. At that time, the settlement naturally settled on the fertile lands of the river valley.

The historical settlement on the ridges of the hills adjacent to the Isojoki River Valley has been preserved in the vicinity of the church and in Koppelonkylä. The area has typical South Ostrobothnian-style long, one-and-a-half-storey peasant buildings with enclosed square courtyards. Old stone fences line the old roads in the Isojoki River Valley. The centerpiece of the field landscape is a cross church designed by Carl Ludvig Engel from 1833.

Photo: Isojoki Church

Karviankylä Village

Karviankylä village represents the oldest village settlement in Karvia, and its history dates back to the mid-17th century. The village has a typical peasant building stock from northern Satakunta. The most notable of the individual buildings is the Lähdeniemi building group, which includes the main building, a granary row, a special-shaped warehouse and an old basement. The small fields of the agricultural landscape slope towards the Karvianjärvi Lake.

Photo: Arto Ala-Karvia, Karviankylä Village

The old granary of Kontti Village

In Kontti Village in Jämijärvi is an interesting historical building, the old granary of Kontti’s farm. The granary may be one of the oldest wooden buildings in Finland and may date from 1553, as this year’s engraving can be found on the wall of the granary. The granary may have been moved to its current location in 1880. According to the memory, the building has been used, among other things, temporarily to store clothes and other small items.

If the granary was indeed built in the 1550s, which is likely, it has its roots in the time hunting and fishing economy of the Northern Satakunta. Therefore, its original use has probably been the preservation of grains and possibly the preservation of game birds and furskins.

Photo: Tuomo Leikkola, Kontti Village

The architecture of Kankaanpää

There is more modern architecture in Kankaanpää, of which’s center is a lively and traditional marketplace. There are business spaces around the marketplace dating back to the reconstruction period. One of the most interesting buildings is Postelli from the 1930s, a former post office. Today, there is a cozy café in the building.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Postelli

In Kankaanpää, market days began to be held in 1902 in the square in front of the church. The market was moved to its current location in 1912, after which the center of Kankaanpää began to form around it. As the popularity of the market grew, the rather small market area was expanded and the sheds with wood shingle roofs were built.

At first, animals were also sold at the market, but later a separate animal market was set up for the animal trade. Partly with the market days, Kankaanpää became the center of its economic area, and the market days became the market of the whole area of the northern Satakunta. The market of Kankaanpää is still lively, and market days are held once a week on Thursdays, and also on Saturdays during the summer.

Photo: Niilo Santaharju, Satakunta Museum, Museovirasto-Finna, Kankaanpää marketplace at 1928

Kankaanpää is known for its distinctive red brick architecture. Red brick was chosen as a façade material due to the local brick industry. Later, red brick was deliberately chosen, and it became a very popular building material in Kankaanpää, both in public buildings and in residential, commercial and industrial construction.

Photo: Juha Levonen, Kankaanpää

The main architectural sites of Kankaanpää are the town hall from 1967 and the sports center and a former parish center, which were completed in the 1970s. These buildings were designed by Kaija and Heikki Siren. The office center, completed in 1992, is also a well-known red brick, and was designed by Kouvo & Partanen Architects. The same office has designed the Kankaanpää Art School, which was completed in 1995. You may find the sites on the architectural map.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Kankaanpään Town Hall

You can get to know the interesting architecture of Kankaanpää with the exhibition VIIVA of the Kankaanpää Town Museum. The exhibition tells about modern architecture and urban planning in Kankaanpää from the 1930s to the present day. The exhibition is open until April 2022.

Photo: Kankaanpään Town Museum

The barracks area of the Niinisalo garrison

The barracks area of the Niinisalo garrison in Kankaanpää is one of the nationally significant built cultural environments. It represents the advanced architecture of the Finnish Defense Forces in the 1930s. The Niinisalo barracks area was established in the 1930s as a nationwide military refresher course center.

The buildings represent ascetic functionalism, characterized by smooth plastered facades. In the middle of the area is a barracks building built in 1935 as a military refresher course center for the army. The main designer of the area was architect Kalle Lehtovuori. In addition to the barracks building, he designed other essential buildings in the 1930s, such as the sauna, the hospital, the kitchen, the canteen as well as the cafe and bakery building, the apartment building of the officers, and the test shooting station.

Photo: Museovirasto-Finna, Niinisalo garrison in 1939

In the 1940s, the LottaSvärd cafe, which is nowadays a canteen, was built. The building was restored in the 1990s according to the original architecture. Next to the building is the former residential building of the Lottas, Impilinna, built in the 1940s.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Niinisalo Canteen

In 1957-1958, residential buildings were built in Niinisalo using the Selvaag method. The Selvaag houses originate in Norway where they were designed for the needs of the post-war housing shortage. The houses have been built using very simple methods without anything useless and irrelevant. The low price of residential houses and the speed of construction were important features during the reconstruction period. In Finland, in addition to Niinisalo, there are Selvaag houses in Helsinki, Oulu and Joensuu, among others.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Niinisalon Selvaag Houses

The built cultural environments are the representative landmarks of the Geopark

Cultural environments representing different eras and building styles can be found in the Geopark area. The unique architecture and buildings are representative landmarks of municipalities and villages. Peasant architecture expresses former life in the countryside. The area’s natural resources of the forests made the peasants wealthy. The wealth was shown by grand houses with beautiful porches. Across the Geopark area you can find such Magnificent old peasant houses and these historic courtyards.

Photo: Eino Nikkilä, Museokeskus-Finna, Otamo’s Vanhatalo at 1930

Those looking for more modern architecture can admire Kankaanpää’s distinctive red-brick architecture and the town’s lively market square with its surroundings. By the Niinisalo garrison, you can get acquainted with the nationally significant built environment. The garrison brought life and services to the area. In the 1940s, several cafés, a hotel and a cinema were found along the village road of Niinisalo.

Photo: Museovirasto-Finna, Niinisalo Centre at the 1970’s

Text: Jenna-Maria Lehmijoki

Main photo: Riitta Alapiha

Photos of the other headings: Terttu Hermansson, Julia Kivelä

Literature (in Finnish):

Collander, Raija. 1999. Siikaisten lasikuistit – Pohjois-Satakunnan kaunottaret.

Kankaanpään kaupunginmuseo Museo – Kankaanpään kaupunki (kankaanpaa.fi) 

Kankaanpään kulttuuriympäristöohjelma https://www.kankaanpaa.fi/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Kankaanpaan_kulttuuriymparistoohjelma.pdf 

Museovirasto https://www.museovirasto.fi/fi/kulttuuriymparisto/rakennettu-kulttuuriymparisto/valtakunnallisesti-merkittavat-rakennetut-kulttuuriymparistot

Lions Club Kauhajoki ry. 2006. Hämes-Havunen – Pohjalaista rakennustaitoa jälkipolville.  Hämes-Havunen | Kauhajoki tutuksi

Museoviraston Valtakunnallisesti merkittävät rakennetut kulttuuriympäristöt –palvelu RKY  ι  Museovirasto

Parkanon rakennetun ympärstön selvitys https://www.parkano.fi/images/stories/Parkanon_rakennetut_kulttuuriympristt.pdf

Pihlaja, Mirjam. 1984. Isojoen pitäjän kirja

Satakunnan Museon y-pakki palvelu y-pakki – tietoa palvelusta (y-pakki.fi)

Selvaag-talot https://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selvaag-talo

Siikaisten matkailukohteet Kohteet – Siikainen 

Uusi-Seppä, Niina. 2012. Satakunnan kulttuuriympäristöt – eilen, tänään, huomenna.

Valonen, N. 1946. Vuosiluvulla merkittyjä rakennuksia Ikaalisten ja Parkanon seudulta. Satakunnan Kotiseutututkimuksia 12.

Explore the Geopark’s valuable built cultural environments

Hämes-Havunen

Learn more on the web pages of Kauhajoki (in Finnish).

Address: Koskenkyläntie 312, Kauhajoki

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.38943, 22.23896

Photo: Riitta Alapiha

THE VILLAGE SETTLEMENT OF THE ISOJOKI VALLEY AND THE CHURCH LANDSCAPE OF THE ISOJOKI RIVER

Learn more on the web pages of Finnish Heritage Agency (in Finnish).

Address: Honkajoentie 1, Isojoki (Isojoen kirkon parkkipaikka)

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.11373, 21.95791

Photo: Isojoki Church

The architecture of Kankaanpää

Learn more the web pages of Visit Kankaanpää (in Finnish).

Address: Kauppatori 2, Kankaanpää (Kankaanpään marketplace)

Coordinates (WGS84): 61.80447, 22.39438

Photo: Kankaanpää

Karviankylä Village

Learn more the Lauhanvuoriregion.fi web pages.

Address: Karviankyläntie 592, Karvia

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.21920, 22.67459

Photo: Arto Ala-Karvia, Karviankylä Village

The old granary of Kontti Village

Address: Private

Photo: Tuomo Leikkola

The barracks area of the Niinisalo garrison

Learn more on the web pages of Finnish Heritage Agency (in Finnish).

Address: Kotitie 32, Niinisalo (Niinisalo Canteen)

Coordinates (WGS84): 61.83884, 22.46868

Photo: Museovirasto-Finna

Sanssi Manor House

Learn more on the web pages of Sanssi Manor House (in Finnish).

Address: Ullantie 7, Kauhajoki

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.42490, 22.17587

Photo: Sanssi Manor House

The peasant architecture of Siikainen

Learn more on the web pages of Siikainen (in Finnish).

Address: Kirkkotie 3, Siikainen (Siikainen Local History Museum)

Coordinates (WGS84): 61.87163, 21.81983

Photo: Sari Vuorela

There is valuable cultural heritage in the Geopark

Cultural landscapes and villages

The beautiful cultural landscapes and rural villages of Lauhanvuori - Hämeenkangas UNESCO Global Geopark are part of the cultural heritage of the area. These environments tell us about the lives of past generations.

CULTURAL LANDSCAPES TELL ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE AREA

Cultural environments are areas and places that have arisen from the interaction of man and nature. Cultural environments consist of ancient relics, architectural heritage and cultural landscapes. In cultural landscapes traces of both natural history and human activities can be seen. Signs of the Ice Age, as well as people’s livelihoods, housing, movement and beliefs, can be found in the cultural landscape.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Siikainen

We have 156 nationally valuable landscapes in Finland which are the most representative cultural landscapes of our countryside. In the Geopark area, Hyypänjokilaakso and Vihteljärvi-Niemenkylä are nationally valuable landscape areas. There are also other beautiful cultural landscapes and historic rural villages in the area. Along watercourses, for example, culturally and historically significant sites with traces of mill and sawmill activities can be found.

Photo: Antti Luusalo, Kairokoski, Parkano

THE HYYPÄNJOKI VALLEY LANDSCAPE MANAGEMENT AREA

The nationally valuable landscape area of the Hyypänjoki valley is located in Kauhajoki. The valley’s impressive landforms, together with the area’s geological background, biodiversity and human impact, make the area especially valuable. The building stock with its Ostrobothnian features, barns and other rural buildings, forest pastures, open ditches and forest islands represent an open countryside landscape.

The Hyypänjoki valley is a living countryside that is actively managed. One of its special features is the lively village activities. The main occupation of the area is agriculture, the practice of which began in the 16th century with permanent settlement. In total, the Hyypänjoki valley includes twenty different villages. Hyyppä is one of the first villages in Kauhajoki, and it was formerly known as Rauhanhyyppä.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Hyypänjoki, Kauhajoki

The Hyypänjoki valley has buildings of many ages and the oldest structures date back to  the 18th century. The building stock is characterized by Ostrobothnian features, such as the grouping of buildings around a closed yard that protects from the wind.

The closed yards in the area have been partially opened, and therefore there are very few left. However, most yards are still bounded on at least two sides by a building. The main building of many of the old farms is a large, one and a half storey, long rectangular and red-molded Ostrobothnian house. The best-known example of the old building stock is Hämes-Havunen which is currently a popular venue.

Photo: Riitta Alapiha, Hämes-Havunen, Kauhajoki

VIHTELJÄRVI-NIEMENKYLÄ LANDSCAPE AREA

The formation of Vihteljärvi-Niemenkylä cultural landscape in Kankaanpää and Lavia has been influenced by the drying of the lakes at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. As a result, coastal waters turned into accretion and to meadows. Later, the meadows were cleared as arable land. Over time, small field patches merged, and today there are large open fields in the area.

According to some stories, the village of Vihteljärvi has been the most famous shoemaker village in our country. A tight community of shoemakers formed around the Vihteljärvi lake even before the 20th century. Shoemaking was a common profession in Kankaanpää, which greatly influenced the development of the municipality. As elsewhere, in the village of Vihteljärvi the profession was often inherited from father to son, which strengthened the area’s shoemaking community and the preservation of tradition.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Vihteljärvi, Kankaanpää

The classic rural community house Toukola from 1936 and farm houses from the early 20th century represent the old building stock of Vihteljärvi village. In the courtyards of several farms you will find old buildings such as various types of barns. The beautiful porches of the main buildings are typical in the village.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Toukola, Kankaanpää

CULTURAL LANDSCAPE OF RUOKOJÄRVI

The cultural landscape of the Ruokojärvi lake in Kankaanpää is of national value. The landscape originates from the 16th century as people settled down in the old hunting areas of Satakunta. The landscape is formed by groups of old buildings, fields by the lake and Kankaanpää Church.

Alakylä village is the old village of Kankaanpää, and it represents the oldest peasant settlement in the region. The village is located by the lake. Alakylä village has retained the look of an old rural village, although a town has been formed next to it. Farms dating back to the 19th century form a cohesive group in the field landscape between the church and the lake. The oldest road in Kankaanpää has passed between the courtyard buildings of Päivike and Vanha-Honko farms. On the shores of the Ruokojärvi lake is an ancient gathering place for young people, Kelminmäki.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Ruokojärvi, Kankaanpää

The premises of the folk high school, Kankaanpää Institute, founded in 1909, are located by the Ruokojärvi lake. The main building, built in the classical style, dates from 1928 and was designed by Elias Paalanen. The art nouveau dormitory dates back to 1914.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Kankaanpää Institute, Kankaanpää

CULTURAL LANDSCAPE OF THE RIVER VIINIKANJOKI

In Parkano, the Viinikanjoki river and the low-lying riparian fields form a cultural landscape. The landscape has formed over time as a result of a long period of clearing and the establishment and division of farms. Historically, agriculture was concentrated on the lower shores of the Viinikanjoki river and the Kirkkojärvi lake. The Viinikanjoki region represents the oldest agricultural landscape in its area. According to folklore, Parkano takes its name from the peeled spruce or pine, which grew from the confluence of the river that flows from the Kirkkojärvi lake to the Viinikanjoki river.

Photo: Antti Luusalo, Viinikanjoki, Parkano

In the agricultural landscape of the Viinikanjoki river is the square, rustic courtyard of Kana farm. The farm has presumably been in the same place since the Middle Ages. The village of Parkano developed around Kana farm. The current main building dates from the 1880s and the barn building from the early 20th century. In addition, there are several other old buildings in the courtyard.

The Viinikanjoki river and its surroundings have been an important route, wilderness area and place of residence. The river is part of a chain of rivers and lakes north of the Kyrösjärvi lake. During the Bronze and Iron Ages, it offered the population of Lower Satakunta and Pirkanmaa a route towards the Kyrönjoki river, and in the Middle Ages the Viinikanjoki branch was part of Kyrönkangas winter road.

Photo: Antti Luusalo, Kana House, Parkano

CULTURAL LANDSCAPE OF THE KARVIANJOKI RIVER

The cultural landscape of the Karvianjoki river is located in Kankaanpää, where the Karvianjoki river flows through the meadow and agricultural landscape of northern Satakunta. The settlement is concentrated on the upper slopes of the riverside and along roadsides. The old building stock dates from the 19th century. In the village of Honkajoki, the river landscape includes natural rapids, grand trees, groves and natural streams.

Photo: Matti Poutvaara, National Board of Antiquities Finna, Kankaanpää

 

On the former border between Honkajoki and Kankaanpää, the rapids of Iso-Haapakoski were the strongest rapids of the municipality. A dam and power plant were built in the rapids in 1927, and the name of the place became Vatajankoski instead of Iso-Hapaakoski. In the 1930s, a power plant bridge was built across the river. The power plant played a major role in the lives of the locals. It improved the living standards of the residents and enabled amenities. The village of Vataja began to grow around the power plant.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Vatajankoski, Kankaanpää

Lankoski in Honkajoki is one of the many rapids on the Karvianjoki river. On the shore of the rapids is the Ylinen mill, which serves as a mill museum and is still in its original place. It was originally a watermill, but over the years the machinery was changed to electric. There is an old and well-maintained building stock around the rapids. The main building of Lankoski farm dates back to 1770. The decorative porch belonging to the building was built at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Photo: Hanna-Mari Kamppikoski, Lankoski, Kankaanpää

KANTTI SAWMILL AND MILL AREA

In Kanttikoski in Karvia there is a culturally and historically significant Kantti sawmill and mill area. It is known that there has been a mill in the rapids as early as in the 18th century. Myllykoski sawmill received its privilege in 1846. The sawmill ended at the beginning of the 20th century, and the mill continued until 1920. After this, Kantinkoski power plant was established in the rapids.

The place is also known as Vartti sawmill and Varttinkoski. In 1932, businessman Julius Vartti bought a power plant in Kanttikoski, an electricity network, a sawmill and an electric mill that was located in the village center. Vartti sawmill was once a major employer in Karvia. It employed about 30-40 people and there were men from almost all of the houses of the village working at the sawmill.

Today, an old stone-vaulted bridge remains in the area, next to which the former mill floor can still be seen. The bridge offers a beautiful view of the surroundings of Varttinkoski.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kantti, Karvia

IDYLLIC RURAL VILLAGES

Across the Geopark, there are beautiful, historic rural villages that are among the most valuable cultural sites in this UNESCO region. The village settlement of the Isojoki river valley and the church landscape of the Isojoki river, Karviankylä and the villages of Leppijärvi and Vuorijärvi in Siikainen are of national value. In addition, the Geopark has numerous other idyllic village environments of great regional and local importance.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Siikainen

VILLAGES AS CULTURAL ENVIRONMENTS

Historic and idyllic rural villages form the settlement-historical stratum of the cultural environment. The concept of a village was born to unite houses in a particular residential area and their holdings for taxpayer accounting. The names of the villages in the tax list were especially important when surnames did not yet exist. In Kauhajoki, for example, the names of houses were not recorded until the 17th century.

Photo: Tuomo Leikkola, Rannanperä, Jämijärvi

The key elements of the agricultural-oriented cultural landscape are fields, meadows and settlements with outbuildings. The location of the settlement has been influenced by, among other things, natural conditions, and therefore there are different types of villages in different parts of  Finland. In Ostrobothnia, for example, settlements were formed on riverside and historic riverside villages can be found in municipalities of Kauhajoki, Isojoki and Karijoki.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, the Hyypänjoki valley, Kauhajoki

THE VILLAGES OF THE GEOPARK

There are many lively rural villages in the Geopark, where village associations and common voluntary work are still popular. The villages host a wide range of activities and events. The villages also offer great opportunities for various nature activities such as skiing, cycling, fishing and swimming. In summer, summer residents and guests enrich village life. Over the years, services have been concentrated in the centres of municipalities and towns, but there is still active cooperation among the residents in the villages.

The rural cultural landscapes and villages of the Geopark area reveal the history of the area. In the villages you can make a time-jump from the early days of the settlement of the region to the present day. In the villages and cultural landscapes, you can admire the old building stock and the beautiful rural landscapes.

Photo: Kurkikorpi Grandma’s

Text: Jenna-Maria Lehmijoki

Main photo: Tuomo Leikkola

Photos of the other headings: Tuomo Leikkola, Riitta Alapiha

Literature (in Finnish): 

Etelä-pohjanmaan maakunnallinen rakennusinventointi 

Hyypänjokilaakson maisemanhoitoalueen käyttö- ja hoitosuunnitelma 

Kankaanpään kulttuuriympäristöohjelma 

Kirjoituksia Vihteljärvestä Vihteljärven kylä – Kirjoituksia (kankaanpaa.fi)

Museovirasto 

Museoviraston Valtakunnallisesti merkittävät rakennetut kulttuuriympäristöt –palvelu RKY  ι  Museovirasto

Parkanon rakennetun ympäristön selvitys 

Papunen, P. 1996. Ikaalinen eräalueena ja kappeliseurakuntana keskiajalta noin vuoteen 1640. Teoksessa Ikaalisten entisen emäpitäjän historia I vuoteen 1640.

Satakunnan Museon y-pakki palvelu y-pakki – tietoa palvelusta (y-pakki.fi)

Uusikallio, Irja. Vatajankosken mekaanikko Päiviö ryhtyi tehdasmaisesti valmistamaan lankaa pitkin kulkevaa valoa eli voimaa Vatajankosken sähkötehtaasta 1920–1940 –luvuilla. Pro gradu -tutkielma. Turun Yliopisto. 2019. Vatajankoski energian välittäjänä / (utupub.fi)

Ympäristö.fi Karvianjoki Ymparisto > Karvianjoen kosket

Get to know the cultural landscapes and the villages of the Geopark

HYYPÄNJOKI VALLEY

Learn more on the web pages of Kauhajoki (in Finnish).

Address: Pantintie 61, Kauhajoki (Hyyppä observation tower)

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.308860, 22.26257 (Hyyppä observation tower)

Photo: Terttu Hermansson

The village settlement of the Isojoki valley and the church landscape of the Isojoki river

Learn more on the web pages of Finnish Heritage Agency (in Finnish).

Address: Honkajoentie 1, Isojoki (Isojoen kirkon parkkipaikka)

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.11373, 21.95791

Photo: Isojoki Church

KANTTI SAWMILL AND MILL AREA

Learn more on the web pages of Karvia (in Finnish).

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kantti, Karvia

CULTURAL LANDSCAPE OF THE KARVIANJOKI RIVER

Learn more on the inventory of Satakunta Regional Council (in Finnish).

Address: Patotie 19, Kankaanpää (Vatajankoski dam)

Coordinates (WGS84): 61.92592, 22.23992

Photo: Matti Poutvaara, Museovirasto-Finna, Kankaanpää

KARVIANKYLÄ CULTURAL LANDSCAPE

Learn more on the Lauhanvuoriregion.fi web page.

Address: Karviankyläntie 592, Karvia

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.21920, 22.67459

Photo: Arto Ala-Karvia

LEPPIJÄRVI VILLAGE

Learn more on the web pages of Siikainen (in Finnish).

Address: Leppijärventie 585, Siikainen (Katselmankallio crossroads)

Coordinates (WGS84): 61.94687, 21.85061 (Katselmankallio crossroads)

Photo: Terttu Hermansson

RUOKOJÄRVI CULTURAL LANDSCAPE

Learn more on the web pages of Finnish Heritage Agency (in Finnish).

Address: Laviantie 279, Kankaanpää (parking lot of Kankaanpää Church)

Coordinates (WGS84): 61.79838, 22.40144 (parking lot of Kankaanpää Church)

Photo: Laura Koivumäki

VIHTELJÄRVI-NIEMENKYLÄ CULTURAL LANDSCAPE

Learn more on the inventory of Satakunta Regional Council (in Finnish).

Address: Laviantie 1155, Kankaanpää (rural community house Toukola)

Coordinates (WGS84): 61.74741, 22.52090 (rural community house Toukola)

Photo: Pasi Talvitie

CULTURAL LANDSCAPE OF THE VIINIKANJOKI RIVER

Learn more on the web pages of the fishers’ association of Parkano (in Finnish).

Address: Parkanontie 118, Parkano (Haapaslammi)

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.01975, 23.02347 (Haapaslammi)

Photo: Antti Luusalo

VUORIJÄRVI VILLAGE

Learn more on the web pages of Siikainen (in Finnish).

Address: Erkkilä-Ikävalkotie 31, Siikainen

Coordinates (WGS84): 61.83508, 21.98838

Photo: Terttu Hermansson

Fall in love with the cultural landscapes and the villages of the Geopark!

Visit the churchyards of the Geopark

There have been churches in Lauhanvuori - Hämeenkangas UNESCO Global Geopark area since the 17th century. Churches are traces of history and indications of local residents’ co-operation and efforts.

Part of the Finnish cultural landscape

In Finland, the largest religious community is the Evangelical Lutheran Church to which the churches of the Geopark area belong. Churches and cemeteries are part of the centuries old Finnish cultural landscape.

Church towers and campaniles dominate the landscape and they have been visible all around the parish. Churches are the center of a built cultural environment. In Finland, you can see the development of building culture through churches; they represent different building styles and techniques. 

Photo: Honkajoki Church, Honkajoki municipality

Churches are often located in places that have regional and cultural historical significance, where they may have had a long history. For example, Kauhajoki’s current church is the sixth church built on the same site.

Churches and church areas have been meeting places, where people have encountered, exchanged news and even found employees. During church attendance, people heard the latest news and public notices. Churches still function as meeting places, even though their importance as such has diminished over the centuries and decades.

Photo: Finnish Heritage Agency-Finna, Old Kauhajoki Church in 1900

Churchyards are full of memories, great emotions and stories. In cemeteries, you can explore the past of former parishioners, and tombstones and monuments reveal us the history of former residents of the area. At the same time, churchyards are also beautiful and well-maintained parks.  

There are often a fence made of wood or stone that surrounds the churchyard. In the Geopark area, all fences are built with stones, but for example in Kauhajoki churchyard, there has once been a red log fence. In the past, the purpose of fences was to prevent grazing domestic animals or wildlife from entering the churchyard. Today, the fences have mainly symbolic significance when they separate the churchyard from the rest of the environment. 

Photo: Eino Nikkilä, Finnish Heritage Agency-Finna, A stone fence and church stables of Karvia Church in 1930

In addition to churches, several other buildings can be found in the churchyard, including morgues and chapels. Some buildings have already gone down in history, such as church stables. Usually church attendance lasted several hours, and church stables were built for horses as a shelter. Occasionally people stayed in them overnight, too.

Sometimes the church area forms a visually consistent whole, as in Parkano. The number of stones needed for building the bell tower, had been accidentally read as cubic foot instead of a cubic cubit. They are old units of measurement. Leg is about 30 cm and cubit 60 cm. The miscalculation was quite noticeable. It was decided to use the extra stones to build the parish granary, i.e. current museum, and the stone fence. 

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, the bell tower of Parkano Church

The churches were often built in the middle of the village, and the settlement and services began to develop around them. The landscape surrounding the churchyard itself includes a wide range of buildings and building wholes. 

In the surroundings of the Siikainen Church, you can find an old primary school, a rectory and a church bridge. The churchscape of Jämijärvi also includes a rectory, a rectory’s granary, a parish granary as a museum.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, the old primary school in Siikainen

Next to the Kankaanpää church hill lies Alakylä, an old village of Kankaanpää dating back to the 16th century. Together, the village’s building groups, beach fields and church form the cultural landscape of Ruokojärvi.

The Imperial Decree of 1879 ordered cemeteries to be afar from the village and church. For this reason, an old cemetery, founded in 1890, is located about one kilometer from Kankaanpää Church. From the same year, there is a morgue with wooden shingle roof in the cemetery. The chapel was built in 1956.

Photo: Pekka Kyytinen, Finnish Heritage Agency-Finna, Kankaanpää, Alakylä village in 1948

The birth of the churches in the area

There used to be a long and troublesome journey to the main church from the remoter villages. And on top of that, going to church was mandatory. When the village had enough houses and the population grew, the desire to build an own church or even a chapel began to emerge. 

Building churches required co-operation, funds and organizational capacity, and it was often the greatest effort of the entire community. In addition, a huge amount of building material was needed, and parishioners were obliged to donate it. In Parkano, for example, timber was prescribed according to how large farm was and how it was taxed. Parishioners were also forced to participate in church construction, each according to their own abilities.

Photo: Lusto – The Finnish Forest Museum, Finnish Heritage Agency-Finna, Timber rafting in Parkano

 

The first church in the area was built in Kauhajoki in 1686. However, the oldest church still standing and functioning can be found in Karvia. It was inaugurated in 1799. The residents were allowed to build a chapel, but they ended up building the whole church with their own permission.

Like almost all churches in the area, the church of Karvia is a cross-shaped wooden church. The church was designed and built by Salomon Köykkä-Köhlström from Jalasjärvi. Parkano Church from 1800, Honkajoki Church from 1810 and Karijoki Church from 1812 are also built by the same person. They all are cross-shaped and wooden too.

Picture: Eino Nikkilä, Finnish Heritage Agency-Finna, Karvia Church in 1931

In 1828, so-called weaponroom was built in the southern side of Honkajoki Church. The weaponroom contained a toolshed and a morgue. Despite the name, no weapons have probably been stored in the weaponroom, but other items instead. 

The photograph of the church and the weaponroom dates back to the 1920s. The weaponroom no longer exists in photographs from the 1930s.

Photo: Finnish Heritage Agency-Finna, Honkajoki Church in the 1920s

In the 19th century, wooden empire churches designed by C. L. Engel were constructed in Isojoki and Kankaanpää. In Isojoki, the church was inaugurated in 1833 and in Kankaanpää 1839. In 1860, rose a neo-gothic church designed by G. Th. Chiewitz to Jämijärvi. The another neo-gothic church rose to Siikainen in 1889, and it was designed by K. A. Reinius. 

Photo: Matti Poutvaara, Finnish Heritage Agency-Finna, Isojoki Church in 1960

In 20th century, the first church to be completed was in Kihniö. The wooden rectangular church designed by Ilmari Launis was ready for use in 1916. In 1934, the Nummijärvi village in Kauhajoki, gained its church due to the hard efforts of the construction community. It was designed by Matti Visanti. Another village in Kauhajoki, Kauhajärvi, got its own church in 1951. That was designed by Jaakko Pelto.

The newest church in the area is Kauhajoki Church, architecturally distinguished from the others. It was constructed in 1958, after the previous church was destroyed by fire in 1956. It was designed by Veikko Larkas. The church is in the form of a Bible standing on its decks with its back upwards.

Photo: Matti Poutvaara, Finnish Heritage Agency-Finna, Kauhajoki Church in 1960

Stories about the churches of the area

Each church has its own history and wide range of distinctive features and stories. Like in Kauhajoki, accidents have occurred in other churches too. The church of Karijoki is also called the church of Helena. According to the story, during the Finnish War the enemy had tried to burn down a church that was under construction, but a girl named Helena managed to put out the fire. 

Parkano Church caught fire in 1928 from a lightning strike. Unfortunately, there was a service in the church at the time of the incident, and the victims were not avoided. The Parkano museum displays the burnt shoes of a boy who survived the fire. In addition, the first church in Siikainen was destroyed by lightning in 1887. 

Photo: Finnish Heritage Agency-Finna, Karijoki Church in 1900

There is a pauper statue on the door of Karvia Church, which dates back to 1960. The original old pauper statue, carved in 1876, was stolen in the 1950s. There was a hole in the statues’ hand for inserting coins. The statue was used for collecting money for the poor, elderly people. In Isojoki Church wall there is a similar statue, which dates back to 1841. 

Photo: Eino Nikkilä, Finnish Heritage Agency-Finna, Pauper statue of Karvia Church in 1930

Church roads are a significant part of the history of churches and the area. They contain a huge amount of memory, information and stories. The Kyrönkangas winter road from Tavastia to Ostrobothnia served as a shortcut to trade and military campaigns, but also as a church road for the area. People travelled via water with their own home boats and especially for this purpose built church boats, which are long rowing boats. 

Journeys to the church have left signs in the landscape. We can find them for example in interesting names of the places. In Kaidatvedet in Parkano, there is a place called Ruumissaari – corpse island. During The Cudgel War, the Great Hatred and Finnish War dead soldiers were buried in that island. In the past, corpses were also stored in the island during winter times. In spring, the bodies were moved and buried to the cemetery.

There is a place called Yösijanmäki, the place to stay overnight, in Hyyppä village, in Kauhajoki, near Kirveskylä village. According to memory, this name is also related to church journeys. The residents of the southern end of the parish had such a long journey to attend services, that they had to sleep on the way. People travelling to the church arrived to Yösijanmäki on Saturday evening, from where they continued towards the church on Sunday morning. At that time, church trips were indeed long, as it was still more than 20 kilometers from Yösijanmäki to the church.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Messukallio, Kaidatvedet, Parkano

Church environments are a significant part of our cultural history

Church buildings and environments play an important role both nationally and regionally. According to Finnish Heritage Agency, they are part of our shared national heritage, architectural monuments, structures still used by their parishioners and they represent the continuity of spiritual and material culture from the Middle Ages to the modern day. 

Church buildings are protected by the Church Act, which requires proper maintenance and repair of the buildings. All Evangelical Lutheran churches constructed before 1917 are protected. Even the younger churches can be protected by The Church Councils decision. The protection regulations also apply to other buildings in church environment, such as bell towers, chapels and other traditional buildings.

Photo: Jenni Rankaviita, Karijoki Church

Churches and parishes are closely linked to the development of existing municipalities. Initially, the administrative division was formed according to the settlements. Rural settlements developed around the churches, which later became the basic areal administrative units of the society. The residents began to require for own churches, and as they emerged, the areas were separated from the control of the main churches. Finally parishes developed into municipalities.  

Today municipalities, villages and landscapes are constantly changing everywhere. Old buildings are being demolished and replaced by new ones. Churches still stand out from the landscape and serve as visible remnants of the region’s history. By exploring the phases of the church, you can also explore the past of the entire surrounding area. 

Churches are a significant part of the history the Geopark area. Their stories highlight the efforts and determination of villagers. Church environments are not born by themselves, but have required will and co-operation. Although sometimes their construction and placement have been the subjects of great controversy, they have finally been completed and the church hill has brought people together.

Photo: Matti Poutvaara, Finnish Heritage Agency-Finna, Isojoki in 1960

Text: Jenna-Maria Lehmijoki

Main photo: Sari Vuorela, Siikainen Church

Photos of the other headings: Pasi Talvitie and Tuomo Leikkola

Literature:

Haarpio, M. 1978: Suomen kirkot ja kirkkotaide part 1.

Jaakola, K. 1983: Hyypän paikannimistö luonnon kuvaajana. In Kauhajoen luonnonkirja. https://kauhajoki.net/kirjat/kauhajoen-luonnonkirja/

Kangas, K.: Karvian historiaa. Oral notification.

Markkola, P. 2006: Ikaalisten entisen emäpitäjän historia III vuodet 1721−1852.

Museovirasto 2021: Kirkolliset kulttuuriympäristöt. https://www.museovirasto.fi/fi/kulttuuriymparisto/rakennettu-kulttuuriymparisto/kirkolliset-kulttuuriymparistot 

 

Nummijärvi, M. 2012: Keskustaajama. In Kauhajoen kulttuurimaisemien kirja. https://kauhajoki.net/kirjat/kauhajoen-kulttuurimaisemien-kirja/

Perälä, L. 2007: Kyrönkankaan talvitie – Oikotie Hämeestä Pohjanmaalle.

Ruismäki, L. 1987: Kauhajoen historia. https://kauhajoki.net/kirjat/kauhajoen-historia/

Suna, H. 2013: Pyhän rajalla: Kirkkomaan aita osana rakennettua kulttuuriympäristöä. Pro gradu -thesis. Jyväskylän yliopisto. https://jyx.jyu.fi/bitstream/handle/123456789/41319/1/URN%3ANBN%3Afi%3Ajyu-201305071571.pdf

Suomen evankelis-luterilainen kirkko 2021: Seurakunnat. https://evl.fi/seurakunnat

Get acquainted with the churches of the Geopark.

Honkajoki Church

Learn more: Honkajoki Church (in Finnish)

Address: Kauppatie 2, Honkajoki

Coordinates (WGS84): 61.99280, 22.26463

Photo: Aili Raudla-Majakangas

Isojoki Chuch

Learn more: Isojoki Church (in Finnish)

Address: Honkajoentie 1, Isojoki

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.11329, 21.95700

Photo: Isojoki Church

Jämijärvi Church

Learn more: Jämijärvi Church (in Finnish)

Address: Kirkkotie 9, Jämijärvi

Coordinates (WGS84): 61.81701, 22.69616

Photo: Tuomo Leikkola

 

Kankaanpää Church

Learn more: Kankaanpää Church (in Finnish)

Address: Keskuskatu 64, Kankaanpää

Coordinates (WGS84): 61.79887, 22.40243

Photo: City of Kankaanpää

 

Karijoki Church

Learn more: Karijoki Church (in Finnish)

Address: Kirkkotie 11, Karijoki

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.31161, 21.70564

Photo: Jenni Rankaviita

Karvia Church

Learn more: Karvia Church (in Finnish)

Address: Kirkkomukka 1 A, Karvia

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.13513, 22.56072

Photo: Sirpa Ala-Rämi

Kauhajoki Church

Learn more: Kauhajoki Church (in Finnish)

Address: Topeeka 9, Kauhajoki

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.42133, 22.17852

Photo: City of Kauhajoki

Kauhajärvi Church

Learn more: Kauhajärvi Church (in Finnish)

Address: Kiviluomantie 842, Kyrönlatva

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.21421, 22.30134

Photo: Laura Koivumäki

 

Kihniö Church

Learn more: Kihniö Church (in Finnish)

Address: Kuruntie 14, Kihniö

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.20359, 23.18345

Photo: Laura Koivumäki

Nummijärvi Church

Learn more: Nummijärvi Church (in Finnish)

Address: Nummijärventie 512, Nummijärvi

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.28681, 22.44400

Photo: Martti Jokinen, Finnish Heritage Agency-Finna

Parkano Church

Learn more: Parkano Church (in Finnish)

Address: Kirkkopolku 3, Parkano

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.01307, 23.02314

Photo: City of Parkano

Siikainen Church

Learn more: Siikainen Church (in Finnish)

Address: Kirkkotie 1, Siikainen

Coordinates (WGS84): 61.87188, 21.82114

Photo: Sari Vuorela

Churches are a significant part of the history of the Geopark area.

Charming spring of the Geopark

In spring, as the sun warms and the snow and ice melt, nature of the Geopark comes to life. Hiking routes and sites are fully open to hikers.

Enjoy the atmospheric events

Nature that awakens in the spring, warm weather and bright evenings attract to go out. During Easter holidays you can enjoy the nature and services of the Geopark.

Entrepreneurs of the area offer safe services for families and small groups to enjoy. For example, a bird watching tour to a mire led by an expert guide with delicious campfire snacks is an experience to remember.

You can easily buy services on our online store. Please also take attention to the coronavirus guidelines while visiting the Geopark. Geopark’s partner companies are responsible for arranging the events, so please ask for special instructions always directly from the organizers.

Photo: Ismo Nousiainen / Taikapolku

Here are some gems of the current offer of the companies of the area:

Country romance and nature experiences in Luomajärvi Horse Inn

Luomajärvi Horse Inn offers wonderful moments with horses, ponies and other domestic animals in a real old-fashioned rural setting. Read more on the Horse Inn’s website and book your own experience. Here are some examples of the offering:

  • Forest trip on ponies or horses by horseback or on horse-drawn carriages to the shed to enjoy a campfire
  • Farm day for the whole family
  • A leisurely Nordic walking trip with snacks
  • Canoe trip on the scenic Jyllinjoki river

Photo: Luomajärvi Horse Inn

Healing forest and dyeing plant tours of Outar in the National Park

At the Outar’s healing forest tour in Lauhanvuori National Park you can experience and observe the well-being effects of the forest. During the forest walk, you move slowly, do nature exercises that open the senses and enjoy nature. Excursions can be arranged for small groups on request. You can also take part in a ready-made series of excursions in May-July. Read more and buy your tour on Outar’s online store (in Finnish).

Also book already a dyeing plant tour for July. During the tour you learn to identify plants suitable for dyeing. Also several color samples will be introduced. When the guide tells you more about plant dyeing, you will enjoy wild herb tea and a relaxed atmosphere in the pine foprest of Lauhanvuori National Park. Read more and buy your tour on Outar’s online store (in Finnish).

Photo: Outar

The spring camp in SyVilla’s garden 

SyVilla offers you a unique opportunity to take part in the spring work of the idyllic courtyard of the former croft at the end of May and beginning of June. At the camp you can e.g. renovate the flower beds, the greenhouse and the vegetable garden, and plant summer flowers under the guidance of a professional gardener. You can also build insect hotels and birdhouses and paint the fences.

You can attend the camp on some of the days or on all of them. The price includes accommodation, meals, sauna, hot tub and outdoor jacuzzi, and on Saturday 5.6.2021 even smoke sauna. Read more, be fast and buy your gardening camp experience on SyVilla’s online store (in Finnish).

Photo: SyVilla

The spring season cakes of Valkoinen Puu Café

Treat yourself with the cakes and the other delicacies of Valkoinen Puu Café! The café offers seasonal cake flavors during the spring. You can easily and safely buy take-away cakes and other snacks from Valkoinen Puu Café. Enjoy take-away delicacies, for example, in the charming garden in the backyard of the café in Kauhajoki.

By purchasing products of Valkoinen Puu Café, you also support the company’s extensive, local cooperation network. In the products of the café local, organic ingredients are used whenever possible. For example, the cakes are made from organic spelt flour of Merinomi located in Kauhajoki. Read more on the website of Valkoinen Puu Café

Photo: Valkoinen Puu

Outdoor activities and saunas at Eteläpää

In the Tourist Center of Eteläpää, by the beautiful Lake Siikaisjärvi, you spend a nice time in nature and take a relaxing sauna. In Eteläpää, you can rent a rowing boat, a canoe or a fatbike, for example. Take also a round at the mini golf or frisbee golf course. The saunas of Eteläpää have just been renovated. Order delicacies and drinks for ypur sauna evening from Eteläpää’s restaurant and complete the sauna experience with a hot tub. The hot can also be rented outside the area. Read more on Eteläpää’s website (in Finnish).

Photo: Viveka Lanne

Enjoy the experiences offered by companies in the unique nature of the Geopark.

Enjoy the spring nature of the Geopark

In the spring you can experience the wonderful nature of mires. You can observe the migration of birds with binoculars or a telescope from bird towers. The towers will be opened to visitors after the snow has melt.

There is a wide range of bird species on the mires at spring time. Also in the fields of the Geopark you can often see huge flocks of migratory birds, such as geese, cranes and swans. The best time to observe birds is early in the morning. In open mires binoculars or a telescope is useful to see and identify birds that stay quite far away.

The mires are rich in waders as well as several seagull species and numerous waterbirds. The wild geese nest at the area, and black and willow grouses also live in the large mires of the Geopark. Many species live in the Geopark on the edge of their habitat – either in the northernmost or southernmost corner.

The restricted areas of the national parks guarantee birds peace to eat and rest during the most important migration period, as well as peace to nesting. Therefore, do not go to the restricted areas marked on the maps during certain times.

Photo: Seppo Myllyviita / Karvian Valokuvaamo

As the snow melts, the white-flowering cotton wool tufts make mires dotty. In wet terrain, you should stay on duckboards. In any case, waterproof equipment is necessary, as water also rises on duckboards in some places.

The cheerfully flowing streams and rivers are fascinating in the spring. Mires play a significant role in spring floods. Undrained mires store water, which reduces flooding in other areas.

Photo: Terttu Hemansson, Kauhanev-Pohjankangas National Park

After the winter, the routes and other hiking structures will open up for use of walkers, cyclists and others. Versatile routes lead to the best destinations in the Geopark. Read more about Geopark’s routes and trails. You can read about Geopark’s mountain bike trails in our article. The cycling opportunities in the Geopark area are being developed currently. The new routes and services are expected to be available as early as the cycling season 2022. Read more about the project.

There are several mire destinations in the Geopark that are also suitable for hiking with children. Read more in our brochure

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Alkkianvuori

The spring nature of the Geopark charms the visitor.

Please take attention to the Outdoor Etiquette

While spending time outdoors, it is always important to take nature and other people into account. Respect nature in every way and keep pets on a leash. Prevent waste in advance. Bring your waste out of the terrain and sort them properly. By favoring marked routes, you can easily reach the best destinations and protect nature. There are own routes available for walkers, cyclists etc.

Photo: Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland, Outdoor Etiquette

The campfires are only allowed on the marked campfire sites. Even in the spring, the terrain can be dry, so always check the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s website that the forest or grass fire warning is not in effect. If there is, it is strictly forbidden to set camp fires. Stay overnight only on the marked camping sites. Read more about the Outdoor Etiquette of Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland.

Photo: Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland, Outdoor Etiquette

Enjoy by the campfire

A relaxing moment eating snacks by the campfire is one of the highlights of the trip. You can even order food for your family or group ready for the campfire, or grab a snack from the cafés or restaurants in the area.

Photo: Ismo Nousiainen / Taikapolku

You can find sheds and other campfire places in the Geopark area on the Retkikartta map service. You can also find information about campfire sites on the municipalities’ websites. In most campfire sites there is firewood freely available to visitors. Fires are only allowed at marked campfire sites. Please also take attention to the coronavirus guidelines and the Outdoor Etiquette while staying at Geopark’s campfire sites.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Lauhanvuori National Park

Respect nature and take other people into account while hiking in the Geopark.

The versatile offering of the Geopark’s businesses

The companies in the Geopark area offer high-quality and nature-friendly services for both day travelers and long-term travelers. Check out the wide range of services in the area on our website.

Photo: Laura Vanzo / Visit Tampere, Korsuretket

Enjoy Geopark destinations on a guided tour led by a local professional guide. You can also rent a bicycle for your own adventures, for example. After hiking in nature, it is nice to treat yourself with treatments and relax in the sauna. Enjoy the delicacies offered by cafés and restaurants of the area. You can find farm products, handicrafts and other local gifts in farm shops and small boutiques.

Photo: Laura Vanzo / Visit Tampere, Korsuretket

Accommodation options in the area cover a wide range from hotels to hostels and from cottages to rural accommodation. In the area, you can also stay in Tentsile or AuroraHut.

Photo: Toron kievari, Ahmalampi Hut Village

Enjoy the Geopark by bike

In the spring, as the snow and ice melt and roads and paths dry up, bike routes are at their best. You can explore the Geopark and its sites comfortably by bike. You can rent a bicycle from our area (in Finnish):

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Kauhaneva-Pohjankankangas National Park

Experience the Geopark through a film

Get to know the inhabitants, the culture and the nature of the area through the Geopark’s In a blink of an eye promotional film. What we see in a blink of an eye is the result of billions of years of geological evolution.

Watch the video on YouTube and enjoy!

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Alpon savanni

Main photo: Terttu Hermansson, Katikankanjoni, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Welcome to the spring Geopark!

Valkoinen Puu Café & Shop develops responsibility

Geopark's member company Valkoinen Puu Café & Shop wanted to make the company's environmental work credibly more visible and began to build an environmental management system.

 

Geopark’s member company Valkoinen Puu Café & Shop wanted to make the company’s environmental work credibly more visible and began to build an environmental management system. The background was the company’s values, the development of its operations and competitiveness. Visibly responsible action is no longer an added value, but a necessity.

 

EcoCompass was chosen as the environmental management system (EMS), which, as an industry-independent system, was suitable for the company’s many functions, cafés, bakery and food factory. – The environmental management program will lead to growth in line with the company’s values. It also provides more ideas, explains Sirkku Ylikoski, Marketing Manager, who is leading the development of the Valkoinen Puu Café & Shop’s EMS.

– EcoCompass surprised with its concreteness, and the work turned out to be easier than expected, Ylikoski says delighted. – We were able to choose the entities to be developed based on our own goals and values. The list of things to be developed by the Valkoinen Puu Café & Shop includes e.g. waste and sorting, energy, responsible procurement, communication and advocacy, and biodiversity. – We chose things that we can react to and want to develop. For example, in rented premises, we cannot decide what kind of electricity we consume, but we can use equipment that consumes less electricity. Economy and environmental considerations go hand in hand.

There are a variety of ways to reduce waste, from menu design onwards. Biodiversity can be promoted e.g. by choosing meat from grazing livestock. Eco-labeled, local and organic products are preferred in purchases. – The work proceeds one product group at a time, at first e.g. dairy products could be considered.

 

– The goals and measures are concrete; they are easy to go through with the staff. We handle one section at a time, train the staff and share information with customers, Ylikoski lists. The system has three years to implement. However, it is never complete, it is a program of continuous improvement. – We set intermediate goals and after three years new goals again. Not everything in this industry can be made completely responsible, because we have hard price realities. However, we aim for as many of the products as possible to be local and organic.

The system clarifies the firm’s operations in many ways, and once built, it also saves time in the future. – Procurement has been harmonized and competed, and good new products have been found that are easy for staff to order. The waste management plan used to be a bit loose, but now it is clear – time and energy are saved.

 

Why should environmental management systems work be undertaken? – If you want to stay competitive, Ylikoski answers. She scanned the company’s target groups and identified aware customers. – Responsibility and organic are asked. Responsibility must be concretely verified. It requires work but is inspiring and rewarding. It is an opportunity for a company to develop its own operations and at the same time unequivocally and in an understandable way prove that it is involved in responsibility work. Responsibility is also part of the employer’s image. Today’s young people want to be involved in responsible business. We think of it as an investment in both development and marketing. It is up to us how much we can use it in communication.

– If Finland wants to invest in sustainable tourism, it is worth being the first ones to be involved, Ylikoski encourages. – In nature tourism, you cannot afford to opt out.

 

Photos: Valkoinen Puu Café & Shop

Welcome to the wintery Geopark

The winter of the Geopark is full of activities. Enjoy cross-country skiing on maintained tracks, snowshoeing on quiet mires and downhill sledding. Have a snack by a campfire. The wintery Geopark has a charming nature and plenty of services to enjoy!

Enjoy the winter events

Entrepreneurs of the area offer targeted, safe experiences for families and small groups. For example, a guided trip to the snowy forest, dining by the campfire and a sauna after it will create the perfect winter holiday atmosphere.

Please remember the corona virus instructions when visiting the Geopark. Geopark’s partner companies are responsible for arranging the events, so please always ensure that they take place and ask special instructions from the companies.

Photo: Matti Hautalahti, Kammi-kylä

Here we introduce you some gems of Geopark’s winter offering. You can also easily buy experiences through Geopark’s online store.

Enjoy the treats of Valkoinen Puu Café

Enjoy the cafe’s cheerful service as well as hearty, American-style cakes baked from the best, locally sourced ingredients! Read more on the Valkoinen Puu website.

Swim in the ice hole in Eteläpää

In the tourist center Eteläpää you can swim in the ice hole at least every Sunday during the winter season. Before swimming and having a sauna you can ski on the nice trails of Eteläpää. Read more on Eteläpää’s website (in Finnish).

A family trip to an atmospheric croft

With Kurkikorpi Grandma’s host couple, you can sled to Asell’s croft. There you can have joyful outdoor games and roast stick buns and sausages on the campfire. Take a peek into the 19th-century life of the croft and warm up by the oven. Ask for more information.

Sauna experiences next to the National Park

Lauhansarvi next to Lauhanvuori National Park offers relaxing sauna experiences for families and groups. Enjoy the soft steams of the smoke sauna and spend time in a traditional hut, pamper yourself in the peat sauna or choose a sauna with a hot tub. Read more and book your sauna experience on the web store (in Finnish).

Winter vacation in SyVilla

SyVilla’s winter scenery and nature will charm you at first sight. In SyVilla you will stay comfortably and enjoy the sauna and the outdoor jacuzzi. If you wish, you can also relax in the smoke sauna. Read more and book your holiday on the web store.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson

Taikapolku takes you to winter nature with snowshoes

Snowshoes open new sights to winter nature in Lauhanvuori National Park, the Hyyppä Valley and elsewhere in the Geopark. With snowshoes you can enjoy varied terrain calmly or a little faster. Good snacks complete the lovely experience.

Book a tour for your own group or take part in ready-made departures:

  • Saturday 27th of February at 11 am Brooks of Lauhanvuori National Park
  • Saturday 27th of February at 7 pm Mire in a moonlight in Kauhajoki
  • Sunday 7th of March at 10 am Lauhanvuori National Park

Read more and book your experience on the Taikapolku web store (in Finnish).

Photo: Ismo Nousiainen / Taikapolku, Hyyppä Valley

Winter experiences in Luomajärvi Horse Inn

Luomajärvi Horse Inn offers wonderful winter activities with ponies and other domestic animals in an old-fashioned rural setting. Read more on the website and book your own experience. Some examples:

  • Trail riding with a pony or a horse and sleigh riding to lean-to including delicious snacks by an open fire
  • A day on the farm for the whole family
  • Snowshoeing in the forest to a lean-to with a campfire
  • A nice moment with ponies for children including pony-care and a leash ride

Photo: Luomajärvi Horse Inn

Exercise and have fun in the winter nature

There are hundreds of miles of groomed trails in the Geopark. Ski slowly or raise your heart rate in varying terrains. Read more about Geopark’s skiing opportunities. You can also explore the winter nature of the Geopark, for example, on horseback or snowshoeing. You can find service providers for guided tours and equipment rental in the Activities section of our website. You can also go wild on the mighty sledding hills of the Geopark.

Photo: Kuntoutuskeskus Kankaanpää, Hämeenkangas

Rent equipment for winter activities

Geopark’s partner companies and the municipalities of the area rent equipment for winter activities. Here are some options. Ask companies for more information. Some of the equipment can be rented in Geopark’s web store. The following web pages are in Finnish.

Photo: Jennika Hakola / eBike Adventures, Lauhanvuori National Park

Skinbased skies

 

Snowshoes

Mountain bikes

Relax by a campfire

The highlight of the outdoor activities is a meal by a campfire. You can buy ready-made take-away treats from cafés or restaurants of the area. Let the blaze of the campfire an the sounds of the surrounding nature relax you. In the Geopark, there are many sheds with firewood freely available to visitors. Campfires are only allowed at marked campfire sites. You can find these sites on Retkikartta online map service. Please also pay attention to the corona virus instructions and the Outdoor etiquette of Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland when hiking in the Geopark.

Photo: Ismo Nousiainen / Taikapolku, Lauhanvuori National Park

Our entrepreneurs at your service

Entrepreneurs of the area make your stay at the Geopark as relaxing and successful as possible. Treat yourself with the delicacies of the area’s cafés and restaurants and shop at the farm shops and small boutiques. Enjoy the destinations on a guided tour or rent equipment for your own adventures. Relax in natural treatments and the sauna and stay overnight in some of our high-quality accommodation options. The Geopark offers a huge variety of services for both day travelers and those staying longer. Check out the service offering on our website.

Photo: Valkoinen Puu, Kauhajoki

Stay overnight and sleep well

Rent a high-quality cottage or choose another accommodation option of your choice in the Geopark area. Well-equipped cottages and a wide range of additional services guarantee a relaxing holiday. In the Geopark you can spend a memorable night in an AuroraHut igloo. Read more and book on the web store (in Finnish).

Photo: Tiina Ekholm / Lomamökki Luistokas, Jämi

Experience the Geopark through a film

Get to know the inhabitants, the culture and the nature of the area through Geopark’s In a Blink of an eye promotional film. What we see in a blink of an eye is the result of billions of years of geological evolution.

Watch the video on YouTube and enjoy!

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Annen Taidekahvila, Karvia

Main photo: Kari Leo, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Experience Geopark’s Christmas time

In Geopark, you calm down in wonderful natural sites and enjoy quality services. Reach the Christmas atmosphere at Lauhanvuori - Hämeenkangas UNESCO Global Geopark!

The nature of the Geopark tells the story of the ancient mountain range and the transformation of the landscape into a low-lying mire rich area. You will feel the impact of mystical bogs and forests on local life and traditions through the cultural sites and the services of the area. Geopark’s Christmas offerings are presented in a brochure (only in Finnish).

Photo: Matti Hautalahti, Kammi-kylä

Take a walk in stunning landscapes, feel the atmosphere of the events, get to know the local people and the culture in the unique sights, enjoy delicacies that are made from local ingredients, and shop at the farm shops. Relax in sauna and enjoy natural wellness services. At the end of a memorable day, you will sleep sweetly in an idyllic cottage in the middle of the forest.

Photo: Tuukka Kiviranta, Valkoinen Puu

Please remember the general instructions for coronavirus and the instructions of Metsähallitus while visiting Geopark’s events and sites and when hiking in the nature. Check the event organizers’ own pages for possible delays and further information. Happy, safe and atmospheric Christmas time!

Photo: Terttu Hermansson