Joensuu is a vivid and tranquil capital of North Karelia with around 1/3rd of the student population. It is one of the most happening towns in Finland. The annual Ilosaarirock Festival is the most significant event which attracts a large number of national and international performers from the pop and rock world.
Also known as ‘the Mouth of the River,’ Joensuu was founded in 1848 by Czar Nikolai I of Russia. Since then, it has grown as the regional capital in North Karelia and the second-largest city. Improvements in water traffic are one of its main reasons for its growth when the Saimaa Canal was built in 1870. It has grown lively regional trade and linked it to St. Petersburg, Russia, via the Volga to both Caspian and Black Seas.
The city attracts flocks of young Finns who come here to join the Ilosaarirock Festival in July, which is an open event. Folk lovers should also enjoy another music festival like Kilhaus organized only 30 km away. Well, here are some of the best things to do in Joensuu.
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Top 7 BEST Things to do in Joensuu (Finland)
It is a tropical butterfly park and botanical garden offering different activities in the lap of nature. Get the feel of being in tropical countries without actually flying to them, thanks to tropical temperatures and plants in Botania. You will find the residents of the tropics in the tropical section, such as the Amazon parrots Iimari and Lasse and sulfur-crested cockatoo Juuso. It is one of the best things to see in Joensuu.
It also serves as a sanctuary of different tropical butterfly species as per the time of the year. You can find butterflies in four different stages of growth. Botania has exhibitions, which change on various themes, along with a permanent exhibition on insect and butterfly collections.
You can also opt for guided tours. The outdoor garden also opens from time to time, and entry is free. It is truly a surprise. It has different climate areas to travel from one room to another.
Different rooms have different temperatures to perceive movement in various climates. There is a unique room with free-flying butterflies. It is a self-managed facility with volunteers working here. There is also a little bar with gadgets to help this excellent initiative.
North Karelian Museum
The North Karelian Museum is one of the attractive museums displaying its cultural history. It is based on the city of Joensuu and its Karelia region. It is one of the best places to visit in Joensuu thanks to its permanent exhibition on the history of Karelia and various changing exhibitions all year round.
Founded in 1917, the museum was located in the backroom of the public library. The small town museum was built as a provincial one in 1980, and it had got full-time staff and became more active. It was opened in the Carelicum culture center in 2011, designed by Martti Aittapelto.
Joensuu Art Museum ONNI
Joensuu Art Museum is located just in the heart of the town center in the proximity to Joensuu Market Square. This New-Renaissance complex was a grammar school built in the year 1894. Founded in 1962, Joensuu Art Museum got huge donations from the town. It is one of the main attractions of Joensuu sightseeing.
It is well known to have an exquisite collection of 19th-century Finnish painting. Its lyrical collection includes the artwork by Magnus von Wright, Werner Holmberg, and Albert Edelfelt. You can also find the younger Finnish art in its collections, especially the art of the 1950s.
It features Etruscan and Greek specimens along with Roman items, which belong to the Hellenistic period. It has the whole collection of Southern European and Central sculptural and pictorial art since the 14th century, which forms the whole. You may not find Chinese collection in Finland.
However, this museum has a versatile collection of Chinese art. You can find most of this collection, which belongs to the Tang period. You can also spot the Oriental carpets and Persian bowls in the museum.
Joensuu Market Hall & Square
It is a 2-way, traditional open-air market. This marketplace is full of people and stands and visiting here is one of the best things to do in Joensuu. The market square is best suited for trade fairs and other activities.
The market square also organized the opening event of the world championship of biathlon, events of Popkatu (Pop-street), Joen Yo (Night by the river), a snowboarding show, and opening of May Day and Christmas celebrations. The market square becomes a culture market in summer where Culture services here produce different programs to the stage.
Finnish Orthodox Church
It is the wooden Orthodox Church, which has the most intriguing interior. Built-in the year 1887 in Joensuu, it has icons painted in St. Petersburg dated back in the late The 1880s. It welcomes visitors and organizes services at 6 pm on Saturday, and 10 am on Sunday.
The Orthodox Church of Finland or the Finnish Orthodox Church is a national church in the nation. Its roots dated back to the medieval Novgorodian missionary work performed in Karelia. It belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church until the year 1923. The church has 60000 members and three dioceses. The parish of Helsinki has a lot of adherents.
Located in the heart of Joensuu, North Karelia, the Joensuu Church was built in the year 1903 and was designed by Josef Stenback, a Finnish architect. It is built in Gothic Revival architecture and also has some features inspired by the National romantic style.
The bell tower is the high tower located in the northeast corner and the organ in the lower southeast tower, built in the year 1969. It has 36 stops and was built by the Organ Factory of Kangasala. It is known to have 100 seats.
Take a tour and relax at the Utra beach is one of the best things to do in Joensuu. Located around 6km away from the city, Utra Beach is a small sand strip covered by the grass. It has markings for a swimming area, which is suitable for children. It also has a facility for changing clothes and toilets. Getting it is quite accessible from the city center.