History and entrepreneurship development project (Koljonvirta)
History and entrepreneurship development project
Start date: Dec 31, 2004,
End date: Dec 30, 2007
The goal of the project was to develop the Koljonvirta area located in the Iisalmi region into a nationally and internationally attractive travel destination in cooperation with a military history and tourism network with a focus on Finnish and Russian tourism and research. The aim of these actions was to increase the volume of visitors by approximately 15 percent. The starting point of the project was utilising the history and cultural heritage of the region. The goal was to be reached by increasing marketing of the region and expanding this marketing internationally by networking with other destinations of the same nature in Finland and in Russia, improving the regions environment, continuing archaeological excavations, reconditioning found artefacts and placing artefacts permanently on display at the actual site of events. In addition, material related to the Finnish War was planned to be gathered from Russian archives and added to the Finnish War artefact collection in Iisalmi. In addition, a wartime trench was to be reconditioned as one of the regions attractions. A further essential goal of the project was to plan to honour the anniversary of the Finnish War in 2008 and to prepare the associated events. A battle demonstration was also to be planned and carried out in cooperation with Russian counterparts; this would be a recurring event taking place in conjunction with other summer events in the area. Achievements: A poorly insulated building at the Koljonvirta campsite was reconditioned and made suitable for year-round use. Historic artefacts related to the Finnish War and the battle of Koljonvirta were collected there as a permanent historic exhibition. A majority of the artefacts were obtained from excavations that took place both during and prior to the start of the project. Artefacts found during excavations were also borrowed from The National Museum of Finland. In addition, the Finnish War and its famous battle are demonstrated in the exhibition using posters, maps and images. Material was gathered throughout the project. Historical material was also obtained from the war archives in Moscow. In addition, historic memorials and their surroundings at Koljonvirta were restored and had informational signs created as part of the project. The restoration of the wartime battle station was not completed due to lack of research information. More thorough archaeological excavations must be completed in the area if the restoration is to be carried out in the future. A preliminary event calendar was produced for the honorary year of the Finnish War in 2008. The responsibility for the events of the honorary year was transferred to the Town of Iisalmi upon completion of the events. In addition, three historic products were designed in cooperation with the businesses in the area during the project. The final rehearsal of the historic battle demonstration was completed during the summer of 2007 as part of the project. The actual honorary year battle demonstration was completed after the project as planned. In addition to Finns, the battle demonstration participants included groups of enthusiasts from Russia. The target number of visitors was not reached during the project; however, raising the profile of Koljonvirta achieved positive results for businesses. The Town of Iisalmi has also continued to develop the region after the project, and hotel stays and the number of visitors to the Koljonvirta campsite also increased following the project.
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