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History, culture and art

Getting back to our roots

A glimpse of the past

“You can’t understand the contemporaneity if you don’t know the past.”

You can find signs of steady living in our zones since stone age. Not far from Kankaanpää is situated the most old stone-age living place of all the Scandinavian zone. This place can be found in Honkajoki something like 25 Km’s from the Kankaanpääs town centre.

For a very long period the immense green forests and blu lakes of our zone served only as territories for hunting and fishing for the men of Häme – “pirkkalainen” already steady inhabitants of the internal Finnish lake district zone. Being the zone very rich of natural resources like wild animals for fur and meat and fish – there were quite much of violent disputes regarding the possess of these areas. Moreover, our zone has been the last of Southern Finland to be steadily in possess of Lapp people in some extent. In old documents there are some statements on the position of Lapps and the livelihood with reindeers. This had caused in some extent controversies regarding the possess of terrains of colonizers.

The first steady evidences of settlement are dated in official documents 1560’s. The first settler of Kankaanpää was originally from the zone of actual municipality of Jämijärvi, “Åkar” Olav Kontti from the village of actual Kontti- Rämi ; he was one of four brothers transferred as colonizers from the area of actual municipality of Mouhijärvi. Åkar founded the farm called “Oukari” – the name of house derives from his name directly. This house and family still exists in Kankaanpää . Åkar left his original house of Kontti for his son; this house called Rämi. The settlement has advanced thus from internal areas of Finland towards the sea in this case.

Other names of first farms in Kankaanpää– all situated within Lake Ruokojärvi quite near the actual town centre are Hongoi, Päivike (Päiffvä) and Kärki (Kärckij). In the village of Vihteljärvi there are also old farms like Kulhua (Saksa), Puuska, Jankkari and Sianjalka (Sikala).

Kankaanpää was mentioned in official documents as “Cancanpä” – the central government was Swedish-spoken and the effect of Swedish language was administratively very strong. Finland has made part of the “ Sweden-Finland” –monarchy for centuries up to the start of 1800 when Finland passed under the domination of Russian tsars for a century.

The most ancient way of communication of region, way of Kyrönkankaantie passed straight in our actual territory. – This way was the most important way between southern part of Osthrobotnia and the internal lake district.

The Kankaapää parish

The Kankaanpää parish was founded as a part of Ikaalinen parish in 1756. Successively Kankaanpää parish had its chapel in 1759 and with the tsarish decision during the year its position as an independent parish finally.

The church of Kankaanpää was planned by Johann Carl Ludwig Engel. There was place for 1300 persons with seat and as there were approximately 3000 inhabitants in Kankaanpää during 1850’s the church was classified far too big !

The church of Kankaanpää represents typical wooden empire-style building.

Prosperity, success , but also the fight for life

The population of Kankaanpää increased with a good velocity thanks to positive commercial development. Up to 1840’s Kankaanpää made part of the commercial area of Turku, but then was constructed the way to the coastal town of Pori. This new way determined the start of “the era of planks”. Pori had the most big commercial fleet of Finland and there was plenty of raw material in our forests. This gave notable benefits for our zone as terms of prosperity and general development.

In 1866 there were already 5600 inhabitants in the zone of Kankaanpää. The following two years of famine caused by catastrophic coldness and total lack of crops gave their tragical contribution and the population decreased 20 %. There’s a piece of information that in June 1867 one could pass with a horse on the ice of Lake Ruokojärvi, which was absolutely abnormal. Fortunately there was quite developed animal husbandry and it was possible to gather natural hay for cows even during these catastrophic years – thus the animals had something to eat during the wintertime and there was milk to give for the children during the long months of winter.

The life has here been nearly always a fight, this modest population has been forced to have a great toughness and resistance for the forces of nature for centuries, for thousands of years. And so many times the winner has been the nature. In every case in spite of the modern comforts we can’t forget our ties with nature as our stories are so firmly braid together with it. When you’ll visit us - remember that the most great monument is the nature itself – never something built by a human being! Here you can still understand that scale – the immense force of nature and a human being – only so small and without power.