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Joensuu History, Finland

Joensuu is a municipality and city in eastern Finland’s North Karelia. Located on the Eastern Finland province, it is a part of the North Karelia region. Founded in the year 1848, it is a lively city of more than 8000 students enrolled with the University of Joensuu and over 3500 students with North Karelia Polytechnic.

Joensuu city was founded in 1848 by Czar Nicholas I from Russia. It is North Karelia’s capital and its regional centre. In the 19th century, Joensuu was the city of commerce and manufacturing. While in 1860, Joensuu received rights of dispensation for initiating commerce, restrictions on the industry were eliminated and local sawmills started to expand and prosper. Saimaa Canal contributed to the improvement in water traffic and consequently, a lively commerce between St. Petersburg, Central Europe and North Karelia was enabled. By the end of 19th century, Joensuu had become one of the biggest harbor cities of Finland.

All through the centuries, the Karelian traders have worked on the Pielisjoki River and it has always been the heart of Joensuu. Canals that were completed by the year 1870 increased river traffic to a great extend. A large number of logging boats, barges and steam boats sailed through the river in the golden era of river traffic. Pielisjoki River is one of the most important route of log raft providing wood for sawmills and also for the entire industry of lumber.

During the past few decades, formerly modest town of agrarian has transformed into an important center of province. Achievement in the regional annexations, investments in the education and establishment of Karelia province have contributed to the development of the city to a great extent. In the beginning time of 2009, the Phyaselka and Eno municipalities will become part of the Joensuu city, further increasing the population of the municipal area.

In the past 25 years, the Joensuu Univeristy has expanded to 8 faculties. Diversified foreign cooperation in industry, commerce and science has benefited the entire region. The closeness of eastern border is a major factor in the city’s history. Republic of Karelia has been an important area as far as cooperation with close by regions of Russia is concerned. The city’s export companies continue the pre-revolution tradition of foreign trade. The city offers different cultural acitivties such as Gospel festivals, Ilosaarirock and Music Winter. The unspoilt environment of the city also increases its attractiveness.

Sometimes, Joensuu is also termed as ‘Forest Capital of Europe’ because of the presence of European Forest Institute here. Other educational and forestry research facilities are also available in Joensuu.

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