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How to get in Tolvajarvi?
The Koitajoki-Tolvajarvi National Park is situated in the southwest Karelia, in the Suojarvi District. In the west, the Park adjoins the Russian-Finnish border. The railway stations closest to the Park are Suojarvi, Sortavala and Pitkaranta where travelers can get by rail. At these railway stations it is possible to get a taxi. The motor-roads running to the Park are in quite a bad condition. The exclusion is the repaired Raikonkoski-Tolvajarvi road (if not to take into account a 8-km section of the road close to the Tolvajarvi village). From Finland, tourists can first go to Vartsila and then go on a dirt road through Ruhovaara (70 km). The roads running from the north or through Vegarus cannot be used by cars. A special entry pass is required to get into the Koitajoki area because it is located in a special frontier zone.
Several camping grounds have been built in the Tolvajarvi area. A series of hiking trails have been made there, and they suit any fitness level. A short Mullujarvi trail rounds on a ridge Lake Mullujarvi with its rocky islands. A trail from Tolvajarvi to Ristisalmi runs for almost 10 km and crosses the centre sector of the Park, and allows to fully enjoy an amazing combination of lofty ridges overgrown with pine forest and fringed by lakes. The Taikinajarvi trail will take you to the most beautiful ridge. Also, other trails have been planned to the most interesting monuments of nature but they are not marked in the field yet.
The local lakes abound in pike, roach, and perch. If you are lucky - you can fish a large ide. Big specimens of vendace can be fished out, and whitefish species do not need artificial reproduction. A fishing license can be obtained at the office of the Park in Suojarvi.
This territory became a popular tourist attraction in the times when it belonged to Finland. In 1913, a small National Park was established here, and in 1939, a hotel was built between Lakes Iso-Tolvajarvi and Mullujarvi.

Maps:
  Location of the Park at the map of Europe
  Road network
  3D map of the Park

Tourism development was hampered by the Winter War. This land still keeps traces of furious battles: ruins of blasted military facilities, trenches and blindages. A German graveyard preserved from the times of World War II.
Currently, tourists coming here are interested to see battlefields and try to find their ancestral roots in their historic motherland - the old Tolvajarvi village.
The territory of Tolvajarvi is known for its exclusively rich culture and rune-singing traditions. Many eminent narrators, among whom were the Vornanen and Shumeikka families, lived in the Tolvajarvi village. On a ridge running through the village a monument dedicated to rune-singers was erected in 1929. Unfortunately, it did not survive World War II.
The Tolvajarvi village and its surroundings conserved historic traces, some belonging to the period when Finns were settling down in the region, the others belonged to the Russian period. An old Finnish village located on the scenic shore of the Lake offers a beautiful panoramic view on Lake Iso-Tolvajarvi. The pearl of Lake Iso-Tolvajarvi is Kotisaari Island where an old Finnish graveyard overgrown with juniper is situated.
Rowan-trees grow along an old village street forming a clear hedge. The sites where houses used to stand can be guessed by spruces and larches once planted by house gates. An attentive traveler will see foundations made of stone and remnants of stone fences in margins of fields. You are unlikely to elsewhere enjoy such a sea of flowers as on abandoned and wild meadows of the Tolvajarvi village.

Last updated 14.08.01 © European Commission 2001 web design - SZA