Kostomuksha

Kostomuksha

Severe but beautiful country of epos Kalevala, to which Kostomuksha city belongs, was inhabited long time ago. In the 1st millennium a.d. on the territory around the Kuito lake Lapps, mostly hunters and fishers, lived. Then Karelians, a nationality which was kindred to Lapps and which came from south, forced them out.

The people of the region settled by volosts. It means by small khutors consisted of some (up to several tens) farms. In the forests, far from roads and in the most beautiful sites at the coasts of small lakes the ruins of houses and overgrown meadows and fields can be seen. The communication between volosts located far from each other was realized by boats sailing by numerous rivers and lakes in summer and by ice of the same rivers and lakes in winter. Kostomuksha was one of such khutors. The absence of roads and low density of the population couldn’t save the region from devastating wars. Swedish campaigns in the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th centuries became ruinous for Karelia. Lapps were practically completely annihilated and Karelians spent much time to restore their economies and ties.

By this time the origin of the Kostomuksha place-name is concerned. This place-name is translated as “The place of revenge” or “The place of death”. The legend says: “It happened long ago. A great number of Swedes came to our region and they were martial and strong. When Swedes entered Kostomuksha most men were on hunting and fishing. The conquerors began to use violence and all young women drowned themselves in Lake Kontokki to save their cleanliness and virginity. When men learned it they gathered together and decided to revenge. In the night while the Swedes were sleeping very calmly after cheerful feast the men of the village punished them cruelly. Few Swedes could run away.

While travelling about Kalevala region in 1837 the famous collector of folklore and “Kalevala” runes E. Lennrot wrote about Kostomuksha: “The village consisted of ten houses, most of them were built up well and two – richly. I have been writing down runes, tales, proverbs and so on for four days”. People knew long ago that there was iron ore in this place. And it had been used for a long time for production the iron. The salt-making mines were the main users of iron from Lopsky churchyards.

In 1866 the distrainment locked in that there were 27 farms and 166 inhabitants. 10 farms had horses; every farm had several boats and fishing cordage. More than half of inhabitants were the Pekshuevs. There were also the Badaevs, the Rugoevs, the Andreevs, and the Lezhevs. Many economies were engaged in barter trade with Finland. However this ancient tradition received wide development nowadays.

By 1917 there were about 300 Karelians and Finns in the village. The school and the church were opened. But the tragedy that happened on the territory of Russian Empire after 1917 damaged Kalevala region as well. The Civil War took many lives. Some people who didn’t recognize Soviet power moved to Finland.

During the Second World War Kostomuksha was completely incinerated. Those who stood alive and returned to their native region, tried to restore all that remained but they couldn’t. Kolkhoz was closed in 1950 because of its bankruptcy. There were only 21 people in the village at that time. Then 50s and 60s came that were very sad for the Karelian originality. Villages were getting empty. Practically all khutors were left. The famous Karelian pine was getting dry up.

 

The discovery of new deposit of iron ore in this place gave new life to this neglected region. The new deposit was named Kostomukshsky and then the building of the concentrating industrial complex and the city began.

 

In 1988 the old Karelian village Voknavolok was included to Kostomuksha and later Ladvozero, Pongaguba, Sudnozero, Tolloreka that newly revived in connection with the development of farm economies were included as well. All these settlements together with the city formed the territory that was submitted to the Kostomuksha City Council. This territory has a border with Kalevala and Muezersky regions in the south and in the east, with Finland in the west. The total area of the territory is 4046 sq. km.

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