Literary tourism is a concept that celebrates reading culture, and the literary culture of Kainuu region is strong. The Kalevala, national epic of Karelia and Finland, was compiled from Karelian and Finnish oral folklore and mythology by Mr. Elias Lönnrot. During the time he was making his field trips and compiling the Kalevala on the 19th century, he was the district health officer based in Kajaani, responsible for the whole Kainuu region. In Kainuu, you may tread the paths once taken by Lönnrot, visit some old buildings he spent time at and learn about his life and career, and witness firsthand where the Karelian artists of the Kalevala found their inspiration.
In 2019, Kuhmo in Eastern Kainuu became part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. The main theme in Kuhmo’s application was the strong connection between Kuhmo and the Kalevala, and the many ways the Kalevala influences the everyday life in Kuhmo. Juminkeko foundation in Kuhmo is one of the biggest national centers dedicated to the Kalevala, aiming at preserving, treasuring and spreading the cultural heritage related to the Finnish national epic. Also the UNESCO office of Kuhmo is located in Juminkeko.
There are several other famous writers that have written in or about Kainuu, as well, and there are several sites around Kainuu region that have an authentic link either to the writers or their production. Most of the books are only available in Finnish, but you’ll find some translated into different languages. Of course, regardless of the language of literature, you’ll still be able to feel the unique atmosphere at the locations and learn a lot about the Kainuu history.