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Introducing Joensuu

The capital of North Karelia is a bubbly young university town, with students making up almost a third of the population. Today Joensuu looks pretty modern – 23 bombing raids during the Winter and Continuation Wars flattened many of its older buildings – and it’s a lively little place to hang out. It’s also the gateway to the deep, quiet depths of the Karelian wilderness.

At the mouth of the Pielisjoki, the town (Joensuu meaning ‘river mouth’ in Finnish) was founded by Tsar Nikolai I and grew to importance as a trading port with the completion of the Saimaa Canal in the 1850s.