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Koitajoki – Mekrijärvi


The village of Mekrijärvi is located on the peninsula, which is bordered by Koitajoki from the North, and Mekrijärvi from the south. The Ilomantsi-Hattuvaara road stretches across the headland and crosses Koitajoki along the Kallioniemi bridge. From the bridge opens up scenic views of Lake Koitajoki. During the Continuation War in July-August 1944, Finnish troops crossed Koitajoki at the Kallioniemi passage and managed to keep the transfer of troops secret. This intervention, for its part, contributed to achieving a significant victory for the Continuation War in Ilomantsi.

Stone Age residences and traces of settlement during the Iron Age have been found across Mekrijärvi. In 1500, 20 buildings existed in this village. In the 1950s, Mekrijärvi functioned as a brick factory employing dozens of people. In the late 1980s, building of private houses commenced in the village. One of Finland’s official weather stations is located in Mekrijärvi.

Megri. Picture: Alpo Hassinen


The most significant cultural heritage site in Mekrijärvi is the poetry singer Simana Sissosen’s home, Sissola. Sissola is a monument to the Kalevala poetry tradition, which plays a central role in the landscape of the village of Mekrijärvi. The cultural and historical value of the site is based in particular on its personal historical significance and Karelian cultural heritage. At the poet’s homestead, the songs were sang with the rhythm of Kalevala.

The village of Mekrijärvi, and especially the Sissola group of buildings, are heritage sites for the earliest collections travels of the Kalevala poems and our country’s most important poetry songs. In the early 19th century, the famous poet singer Simana Sissonen built a traditional pair log house on her ancestral land in Ilomantsi, Mekrijärvi. In whole Finland, this is the only poetry singer’s home that is still standing in its original place.

On the courtyard one can still admire the preserved main building, the cowshed, shed, woodshed, smoke sauna and a well. The old cultural landscape offers a unique expedition into the 19th century atmosphere. In whole Finland, Sissola is the only poetry singer’s home that still stands in its original place. Today, the buildings are managed by the Family Society of Sissola, in Finnish  “Sissosten Sukuseura Ry”. In this region, one can also familiarize themselves with the Simana cultural path. Via the Taitajan Taival hiking trail, the path will lead you to Petkeljärvi National Park. Altogether six stop-over sites and homes are aligned along the route.