North Karelia is one of the 19 administrative regions of Finland. It is located in the larger region of Eastern Finland and is a part of the historic region of Karelia.
The main natural feature of North Karelia is a series of hills called Koli, which are the highest in Eastern and Southern Finland and which offer a breathtaking view of stunning Pielinen Lake.
There are 47 named mountains in North Karelia, the highest and most prominent of which is Ukko-Koli (347 m / 1,138 ft).
— The name “North Karelia” derives from that of Karelia, which is the historic and cultural name for a region that spans a large swath of southern Finland and western Russia. The Karelians are an ethnic group that has traditionally inhabited this region.
The Karelians speak Karelian, which is an officially recognized minority language in both Finland as a whole and in the Republic of Karelia in Russia. Karelian is a Balto-Finnic language and it is similar to Finnish, though it differs slightly in vocabulary, tone, and expression.
The Karelians call their homeland Karjala. However, while the origin of the word is unclear, it’s believed that Karjala derives from the modern Finnish karja, which means “herd.” This may refer to animal husbandry, a common method of subsistence in this region for thousands of years.
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Text: Ivan Kuznetsov
Cover photo: woman winter bathing in North Karelian lake, Finland by Mika /Unsplash