"Take it easy in Iisalmi" Iisalmi by Jarra

Iisalmi Travel Guide: 16 reviews and 32 photos

The people

The people of Iisalmi are incredibly friendly, hospitable, happy, genuine "Savo" people. The Karelian Finns and people in the Iisalmi region have blended together into jovial harmony, and results are evident in the region`s cuisine and tradional events. The Market Square is the place to meet happy and friendly people and try some local cuisine.

Long history

The Iisalmi region got its first inhabitants already in the early stoneage. The first settlers were thought to be Samish people. In early 16th century persons from Savo and Hame settled in the Iisalmi region. Iisalmi parish was established in 1627. Iisalmi city was established in 1891. Iisalmi region is probably best known of its Koljonvirta battle. Our national poet J.L. Runeberg wrote the story calle "Vanrikki Stoolin tarinat" which is based on true events. Koljonvirta was one of the major battle fields in Swedish-Russian war in 1808-09. More than 5.800 troops came against Sandels who had only 1.800 and found himself being at a desperate disadvantage. He had found himself a good position for the defensive action that was to take place though, and the Russians had to cross the bridge at Koljonvirta - also called Virta bro - to get to the Swedes. The Russians came over under screams and with playing music, their attack was total. But keeping his coldness, Sandels waited for the right moment. And then the order was given. With shining bayonets the Vasa regiment and Savolax jaegers went to the attack; they were followed by a battalion from Uleåborg as well as Karelian dragoons. The success was total. The Russian troops were turned over in rout and defeat; they were driven back towards the bridge. The Swedes brought them hard losses as they fullfilled bayonet-charges and let their weapons play against the confused formations of Russian soldiers

The battle of Virta bro was the last Swedish military victory on Finnish soil. Prince Dolgoruki was killed during the battle. Later on Russian Tsar, Alexander I, raised the monument for his memory.

  • Last visit to Iisalmi: Jul 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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