Isokyrö Finland

Isokyrö Finland

Isokyrö is a small community along the river Kyrö found half way between two city centres, Vaasa and Seinäjoki, in the Ostobothinia region of Finland.


In medieval times, Isokyrö was known as the administrative centre of the municipality once called Pohankyrö. Tuija Hansen and I had a chance to visit the stone church dedicated to St. Laurence and built in 1304. The walls are 5-7 feet thick and this is when I experienced a smokey scent drifting through the air - later to be discovered as tar from the roof. Such a unique and wonderful smell that continues to fill the air throughout my stay here in Finland!

Adorning the church are medieval carvings and remarkable walls which were painted in the 1560’s (by an unknown artist) and tell stories from the bible. The paintings were whitewashed in 1666 by the vicar at the time, as he felt they were unorthodox or primitive. They were left forgotten for over two centuries; being rediscovered in 1885. I was told by a woman that this was lucky, because then when the Russians had once occupied the church, using it as a horses stable, the paintings were not ruined as they were in hiding.

Here we also learnt about how Napue was the last battlefield of the Great Northern War, where Swedish-Finnish troops led by general Armfelt bravely fought agains Russian troops. After this devastating two hour battle, the period of Great Hate began.


Pictured here is the Napue battle (1714) monument.

And finally, after driving around playing detective, Tuija and I found the home our family built, where our grandfathers once lived before moving to Canada! We only had two photos as a guide, and some tips about which part of the village they may have been born, offered by a distant relative.

Be sure to follow later blog posts about artwork created by Tuija and I that is inspired by the Ostrobothnia region!


photo credit: Carol Kajorinne (unless otherwise noted)

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