|This article is a rough translation from German. It may have been generated by a computer or by a translator without dual proficiency. Please help to enhance the translation. |
If you have just labeled this page as needing such attention, please add
|— Town and municipality —|
|- Town manager||Timo Halonen|
|- Total||5,808.92 km2 (2,242.8 sq mi)|
|- Land||4,978.11 km2 (1,922.1 sq mi)|
|- Water||830.81 km2 (320.8 sq mi)|
|Area rank||10th largest in Finland|
|- Rank||70th largest in Finland|
|- Density||3.31/km2 (8.6/sq mi)|
|Population by native language|
|- Finnish||98.9% (official)|
|Population by age|
|- 0 to 14||17.3%|
|- 15 to 64||64.4%|
|- 65 or older||18.3%|
|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
|- Summer (DST)||EEST (UTC+3)|
|Municipal tax rate||19.5%|
Kuusamo is a town and municipality in Finland. It is located in Oulu province and is part of the Northern Ostrobothnia region. The municipality has a population of 16,491 (31 January 2011) and covers an area of 5,808.92 square kilometres (2,242.84 sq mi) of which 830.81 km2 (320.78 sq mi) is water. The population density is 3.31 inhabitants per square kilometre (8.6 /sq mi).
The municipality is unilingually Finnish.
Kuusamo is a major center for winter sports and receives approximately a million tourists every year. One of the largest ski resorts in Finland, Ruka, is situated in Kuusamo. Ruka is also the host of many international competitions in ski jumping, cross country skiing and Nordic combined. The 2005 World Championships of Freestyle Skiing was held in Kuusamo. Kuusamo Airport is located 6 kilometres (4 mi) north-east from Kuusamo town centre.
Until the 17th Century, the area of Kuusamo was inhabited by the semi-nomadic Sami. During the cold season they lived in the villages Maanselkä and Kitka. In spring they moved to the rivers and in summer, after the melting of the ice, to the lakes; there they fished and gathered berries and mushrooms; in autumn they hunted reindeer, bears and beavers in the forest. Apart from fishing and hunting the Sami earned their living by trading fur with the Finns settled on the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia and the Karelians of the White Sea coast.
As a Sami settlement the area belonged to Kuusamo Kemi-Lappmark at the time. Nominally it belonged to the territory of the Swedish province of Västerbotten, but the Swedish rule was limited to the collection of taxes. At the same time Russia collected taxes in the territory it deemed state-less.
Since 15th Century Finnish fishermen also took advantage of fishing grounds on the lower reaches of the river Iijoki near Kuusamo. They took regular trips of a few weeks from Kuusamo, but because the land could not provide hay for cattle other than near the river, they found no fixed settlements. Only when, in 1673, the Swedish government granted all settlers in Lapland years a tax exemption for 15 years, did settlers from Savo and Kainuu settle in Kuusamo. They practiced slash and burn as a form of shifting cultivation. This was mainly due to the hunting-based life form of seeds at risk. Within a few decades the Sami population was assimilated or ousted by the Finnish settlers. By 1718 there were only two Sámi families in Kuusamo, even they had adopted the Finnish language.
The first parish in Kuusamo was founded in 1685. In 1687 a temporary chapel was built, in 1695 the first church. From the end of the 17th Century the area around the lake Kuusamojärvi began to be called Kuusamo. The precise etymology of the name is unclear, however, one possible derivation is from a Sami word for "spruce forest".
The Swedish–Russian border had already been withdrawn east of Kuusamo in the 1595 Treaty of Teusina, but was long and porous. With the constant influx of new settlers, Kuusamo grew steadily in the 18th Century. Agriculture, cattle and reindeer breeding replaced nomadic cropping. Kuusamo around 1770 had about 2,000 inhabitants. In 1775 Kuusamo was removed from Lappmark and added to the newly formed province of Oulu . Because the population had increased, a new, larger church was built between 1797 and 1804. By the beginning of the 19th Century the population had reached 3000 inhabitants, but a famine in 1803 and a smallpox epidemic the following year reduced the population again.
In 1809, Kuusamo, as with the rest of Finland, came under Russian rule. In the first half of the 19th century, the area was ravaged several times by devastating famine and epidemics. Kuusamo was spared by the catastrophic crop failure in 1867, and its population grew steadily thereafter. By 1886, 7,000 people inhabited the city; by 1894, that number grew to 8,000. With the advent of forestry at the end of the 19th century, workers moved into the area, so Kuusamo reached a population of 10,500 by 1910. In 1868, in Finland's administrative reform the parish of Kuusamo became a municipality.
After the independence of Finland in 1917, the Russian border was closed and so Kuusamo wascut off from its hinterland. The forestry sector suffered as there was no more wood to raft from Kuusamo to the ports on the White Sea,. Even the reindeer economy suffered as some of the herds remained on the Russian side of the border. Therefore between the wars agriculture developed as the most important part of the economy. By 1925 the population had risen to 14,634, but it fell by around 2000 the next year through the detachment of the villages and Posio Suolijärvi Kuusamo .
At the start of the Winter War Kuusamo was evacuated in December 1939 for fear of a Soviet invasion. In the Moscow Peace Treaty, the Winter War ended on 14 March 1940, Finland lost large parts of Karelia, the eastern areas of Salla and Kuusamo to the Soviet Union. The ceded part of Kuusamo had an area of 1653 square kilometers and included the villages Paanajärvi, Tavajärvi, Vatajärvi, Enojärvi, Pukari and Kenttikylä. Its 2100 residents were relocated to other parts of Kuusamo. During the Continuation War of 1941-1944 Kuusamo was used as a supply depot by German and Finnish troops. When it appeared that Germany might lose the war, Finland secretly negotiated a separate peace with the Soviet Union. After news of the armistice, the civilian population once again abandoned the town for fear of Russian occupation. The Russians did briefly occupy Kuusamo and burned the village to the ground upon their departure.
In the years between 1945–1952 Kuusamo was rebuilt. By the late 1960s, the population grew to almost 21,000. As agriculture in the village could not offer enough jobs for the baby boomer generation, the population began to decline rapidly. In 1954, the first ski run on the Rukatunturi was created. Through the expansion of the Ruka ski center, Kuusamo became a tourist center. In 2000, the municipality of Kuusamo was made a city.
Kuusamo lies in the east of Finland in Oulu Province on the border with Russia. The town of Kuusamo is only a small part of the municipality. The neighboring municipalities of Kuusamo are Suomussalmi in the south, Taivalkoski and Posio in the west, Salla in the north and Russia in the east. The nearest large towns are Rovaniemi, 192 kilometres (119 mi) northwest, and Oulu 215 km (134 mi) southwest. The distance to the capital Helsinki is 796 km (495 mi).
Kuusamo covers an area of 5,808.92 square kilometres (2,242.84 sq mi) of which 830.81 km2 (320.78 sq mi) is water. The community center of Kuusamo, where nearly two-thirds of the population live, is only a small part of the territory. The rest of the municipality consists of sparsely populated, mostly wooded areas. Therefore, the population density of Kuusamo is only 3.31 inhabitants per square kilometre (8.6 /sq mi). Apart from the city, villages include Alakitka, Heikkilä, Hiltunen, Irni, Jokilampi, Kallunki, Kantokylä, Kemilä, Kero, Kesäniemi, Kiitämäjärvi, Koskenkylä, Kuolio, Kurvinen, Kärpänkylä, Käylä, Lämsänkylä, Maaselänkylä, Murtovaara, Poussu, Puutteenkylä, Rukajärvi, Määttälänvaara, Soivio, Suorajärvi, Tammela, Teeriranta, Törmäsenvaara, Vasaraperä, Virrankylä, Vuotunki, Lehto and Kiviperä.
Landscape and Nature
The city lies on a roughly 250-meter-high plateau, from which the waters flow in five directions. In the area of Kuusamo there are many hills (Finn. vaara) and fells (Finn. tunturi). The highest elevations are Valtavaara (492 m), Kuntivaara (481 m), Iivaara (469 m) and Rukatunturi (462 m), the site of the Ruka ski center.
90% of the land area is forested. The forests consist mainly of pine trees (70%) with some spruce (20%) and deciduous trees (10%). 801 km2 (309 sq mi) or 14% of the area of Kuusamo is covered by water. The largest of the 166 lakes in the area are Joukamojärvi, Kiitämä, Kitka, Kurkijärvi, Kuusamojärvi, Muojärvi and Suininki. Rivers in the area include Oulankajoki, Kitkajoki, Kuusinkijoki and Pistojoki flowing eastward to the White Sea and Iijoki westward to the Gulf of Bothnia.
The 270 km2 (100 sq mi) area of Oulanka National Park is shared between northern Kuusamo and neighboring Salla municipality. The landscape is dominated by pine forests, Oulankajoki river and its side branches with their sandbanks and rapids, and in the northern part vast marsh areas. In the wilderness live 30 species of mammals and 120 species of birds, including brown, stone and white-tailed eagle. Wolves and lynxes are rare. Rapids in Oulankajoki include Kiutaköngäs, Taivalköngäs, Jyrävä, Niskakoski and Myllykoski. Near the southern border with Suomussalmi is the canyon lake Julma Ölkky with up to 50 m (160 ft) high cliffs.
The average annual temperature is −0.3 °C, annual precipitation 525 millimetres (20.7 in). The warmest month is July with an average temperature of +14.7 °C, coldest February with −13.2 °C. The coldest ever measured temperature was −40.8 °C. Kuusamo is one of the snowiest areas in Finland: the ground is snow-covered for about 200 days a year, from late October until mid-May, with a thickness of 80–90 centimetres (31–35 in).
On 31 January 2011 Kuusamo had 16,491 inhabitants. Nearly two-thirds of the population lives in the city center, called the village of Kuusamo, the rest is divided among the villages in the rural hinterland. Like most communities in the Northern and Eastern Finland, there has been marked migration to larger urban areas. The population peaked in the late 1960s at nearly 21,000 residents. With the exception of a period in the 1990s, the population has steadily declined since then.
The migration has had an effect on Kuusamo's age structure, as it is mainly young people who leave the town. For example, between 1998 and 2001, the percentage of people aged less than 15 years fell from 25% to 23%, while the share of those aged over 64 years rose from 12 to 14%.