3 Ilomantsi


Ilomantsi

Ilomantsi ("Ilomants" in Swedish) is a village and municipality of Finland.

It is located in the province of Eastern Finland and is part of the North Karelia region. The municipality has a population of 6 228 (30.9.2007) and covers an area of 3,172.86 km² of which 401.96 km² is water. The population density is 2.1 inhabitants per km². The most eastern point of Finland and of the continental part of European Union is located in Ilomantsi near the village of Hattuvaara (in the EU, only Cyprus is located further to the east).

The nearest town is Joensuu, 72 km away; the distance to Helsinki is 511 km. Neighbouring municipalities are Eno, Lieksa und Joensuu. In the east, Ilomantsi shares 100 km long border with the Russian Republic of Karelia. The municipality is sparsely populated and is mostly characterized by with forests and boglands. About 250 km² of the area is designated as natural reserves, among them the national parks Petkeljärvi and Patvinsuo. The most important bodies of water in Ilomantsi are the lakes Koitere and Nuorajärvi and the river Koitajoki.

The municipality is unilingually Finnish. However, the local dialect is more Karelian than Finnish, and local words of Karelian or Russian extraction are used even in the spoken Finnish of Ilomantsi. Significantly, the central village of the municipality is not called "kirkonkylä" as is usual in Finland, but "pogosta" (a Russian loan-word, originally "pogost"). Even the local newspaper is called "Pogostan Sanomat", i.e. "The Pogosta News".

Ilomantsi has 17.4% Orthodox minority, which is the largest percentage among Finnish municipalities. The wooden Orthodox church of Ilomantsi is the largest in Finland and is dedicated to the prophet Elias. There are also five Orthodox chapels ("tsasouna") in the municipality. The Orthodox community of Ilomantsi is more than 500 years old and counts 1100 members.

External links

* [http://www.ilomantsi.com/en/index.php Ilomantsi in English]
* [http://www.ilomantsi.fi/ Municipality of Ilomantsi] (in Finnish only)


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