Koli National ParkEarth : Europe : Scandinavia : Finland : Eastern Finland : North Karelia : Koli National Park
The Koli National Park lies in the municipalities of Joensuu, Lieksa and Kontiolahti in North Karelia, Eastern Finland, on the western shore of Lake Pielinen and covers 3000 hectares. Established in 1991, the uncommonly beautiful national park and diversified winter tourist centre is administered by the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla).
Koli has inspired many painters and composers, e.g. Jean Sibelius, Juhani Aho and Eero Järnefelt. Eero Järnefelt painted together with A.W. Finch and Ilmari Aalto a large scenery about Koli in 1911. It can be seen in the restaurant of Helsinki railway station. Painters found Koli in the 19th century and after that Koli has been called one of the national sceneries of Finland.
Koli has lots to offer cultural heritage-wise. Former it was a sacrificial site. Later it was used for slash-and-burn agriculture. The aim of Koli National Park isn't to reserve wild nature but traditional agricultural heritage is cherished in Koli. Some fields are slashed, burnt and re-cultivated and hay is cut yearly. Traditional Finnish breeds of cows and sheep are grazing in the meadows of Koli.
The most well-known vantage point in the park is Ukko-Koli, with a grand view to the East, over the lake Pielinen. Near the top there's the Heritage Center Ukko. In the summer, two long scenery lifts are working in Koli.
There are also many caves in Koli area, e.g. the cave named Pirunkirkko. It is 34 meters long and 1–7 meters high.
Nowadays there are two ski resorts in Koli area: Loma-Koli for families and Ukko-Koli for more advanced downhill skiing. There are three ski lifts and six ski slopes in Ukko-Koli. The highest vertical drop is 230 meters and ski slopes are 800–1,500 meters long. There are four ski lifts and six ski slopes in Loma-Koli. The highest vertical drop is 145 meters and ski slopes are 530–1,050 meters long. Two of the slopes are streets for snowboarding. There are also snow castles for children.