Whatever your interest, Parppeinvaara has something for you. From its hilltop amid the forests and fells of eastern Finland, there are views stretching for miles to the blue horizon, beyond which lies Russia.
At Parppeinvaara you'll find a collection of historic buildings based on the theme of local tradition. These include Runonlaulajan Pirtti, with handicrafts, traditional music, and exhibitions; Rajakenraalin maja, a war-time operational headquarters; Parppeinpirtti Restaurant, with a Karelian menu; and the Tsasouna, a small Orthodox chapel.
Centred on Parppeinvaara, we find a traditional log building – Runonlaulajan Pirtti in Finnish – where you can hear traditional music on the Finnish kantele.
TraditionsThe guides at Runonlaulajan Pirtti wear traditional dress, known as feresi. There is an exhibition of other traditional clothes.
The choice is yours – a gentle walk around the area on your own, or a short guided tour, which includes entry to all the exhibitions.
A Taste of Karelia
Just across the yard from Runonlaulajan Pirtti, at the Parppeinpirtti Restaurant, you can follow the process of making Karelian pasties, and then enjoy the final product as part of your Karelian meal in delightful surroundings.
Lying as it does on the border with Russia, Ilomantsi was the scene of fierce fighting during WW2. You can visit the headquarters of General Raappana, known as "the Border General", from where he directed Finnish forces. It's only 2 minutes walk from Runonlaulajan Pirtti or the Restaurant.