Mikael Agricola as an inspiration for developing ecological nature trail

Cape Kyrönniemi is located near the Finnish-Russian border in Leningrad Region, Russia. The area is remarkable because of its ecological, historical and cultural heritage. It was a part of the historical Royal Road, which connected the medieval Sweden to the cities of its eastern provinces. (Kalyagina 2021.)

The area of Kyrönniemi is also related to the life of Mikael Agricola, the founder of the Finnish written language. Agricola was part of the Swedish diplomatic delegation on a journey to the peace negotiations of the Russo-Swedish War (1554–1557). Parties agreed on a truce in 1557 in the Treaty of Novgorod and the war ended. However, on the difficult journey back to Vyborg Agricol’s health deteriorated, and he died on April 9th, in the parish of Kuolemanjärvi. He was carried to the city of Vyborg and buried there. (Heininen 1997.) In July 1900, a memorial stone for Agricola was erected to Kyrönniemi. It disappeared during the World War II, but it was discovered again in the 1990s. In 2000 the monument was transferred back to its original location. (Mikael Agricola Seura 2009.)

Now, over four hundred years later, the life and the journey of Agricola and the cultural history of the area, will be brought together in cross-border operation with the creation of the new culture trail.

Map of the Gulf of Finland marked with the location of Cape Kyrönniemi.
Picture 1 Map of the Cape Kyrönniemi (Google maps 2021).

Project Kurenniemi – Cultural value of Russia and Finland through M. Agricola trail

The project Kurenniemi – Cultural value of Russia and Finland through M. Agricola trail is a two-year project (1.2.2021 – 31.12.2022) funded within the framework of the South-East Finland – Russia CBC Programme 2014-2020.

The lead partner in the project is the All-Russian Society of Nature Protection, Leningrad Region office. The other partners are Directorate of protected areas of Leningrad region, Pushkin Leningrad State University and LAB University of Applied Sciences.

The aim of the project is to establish a nature reserve status on the area of Kyrönniemi and create a foundation for sustainable ecotourism. The main objective is to create an ecological and culture related tourist route inspired by M. Agricola, which will offer experiences for hikers, day trippers and residents. Experiences in developing ecotourism and culture trails are collected from both countries, in order to find the best practices for example in accessibility, guidance, needed facilities and activities.

Route and the planned visitor center will introduce M. Agricola and his last journey to the visitors with stories, events and exhibitions. In addition, a documentary film of Cape Kyrönniemi and Agricola will be produced during the project to enhance the experience and help in marketing.

A narrow road and outdoor trail between green forest and the Lake Saimaa.
Picture 2. One of the benchmarked nature routes is Rantaraitti, which traces the shores of Lake Saimaa near the city centre of Lappeenranta (Mirola 2021).

The role of LAB University of Applied Sciences in the project

LAB will provide expertise in developing sustainable and eco-friendly tourism routes and services based on the culture-historical and ecological values of the region. LAB will contribute to the project, for example, by collecting and consolidating data in creating nature parks, hiking trails and ecological tourist routes in Finland. LAB also collects information about M. Agricola in order to find elements for the productization of the routes and future activities. This is done in co-operation with the Finnish Mikael Agricola Society and Kuolemanjärvi Foundation.

LAB will also coordinate joint benchmarking visits to nature parks and other nature destinations in Finland. During the visits LAB organizes meetings with experts, local authorities and companies to share Finnish expertise.

Authors

Tuuli Mirola, D.Sc. (Tech.) works as a Principal lecturer in LAB University of Applied Sciences and is the project manager in the Kurenniemi – Cultural value of Russia and Finland through M. Agricola trail project.

Katariina Pakarinen, M.A. (Design) works as a RDI specialist / service designer in LAB University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Design and fine arts. Katariina is specially interested in nature travel, service design and futures thinking.

References

Heininen, S. 1997. Agricola, Mikael. Kansallisbiografia-verkkojulkaisu. Studia Biographica 4. Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura. [Cited 28 May 2021]. Available at: https://kansallisbiografia.fi/kansallisbiografia/henkilo/14

Mikael Agricola Seura. 2009. Muistomerkkihanke 2009. [Cited 4 Jun 2021]. Available at: https://www.mikaelagricolaseura.fi/?page_id=179

Kalyagina, N. 2021. How to preserve nature, develop tourism, and create jobs: following the experience based in the Vyborg district of the Leningrad Region. Unpublished interview of Natalia Kalyagina, a member of Green Cross Anti-Crisis Center, the Chairman of the Leningrad Branch of the All-Russian Society of Nature Protection. [Cited 4 Jun 2021].

Links

The project Kurenniemi – Cultural value of Russia and Finland through M. Agricola trail. 2021. Project website. Available at: https://kurenniemi.com/

Pictures

Picture 1. Google maps. 2021. Map of the Gulf of Finland with the Cape of Kyrönniemi.

Picture 2. Mirola, T. 2021. Route of Rantaraitti in Lappeenranta.

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