History at one’s own pace
You can spend a warm summer day in a hammock, in an art exhibition or by exploring the designs of the famous architect Alvar Aalto. Ankkapurha Culture Park is one big outdoor museum.
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Ankkapurha is an area of rapids at Anjala in the Kymijoki River. Artist Ferdinand von Wright immortalised it in his oil painting Anjalankoski, which nowadays belongs to the collections of the Ateneum Art Museum.
The painting by von Wright shows foaming water and spruce forests. The artist completed the rapids landscape in 1867, five years before Kymenlaakso’s first pulp mill was built on the eastern bank of Ankkapurha.
Soon the Tampella Board Mill rose up next to it and Ankkapurha was harnessed to produce electricity. For a long time, Anjala Manor, situated on the west bank of Ankkapurha, belonged to the Wrede family, upon which King Karl IX of Sweden once bestowed the lands of Anjala.
A park for everyone
Nowadays the Ankkapurha Culture Park operates in the grounds of the manor and the old mill. The manor with its oak-lined avenues and parks has sprung to life and the doors are now open to public after an interval of several years. Anjala Manor serves as an exhibition centre and venue for events. The basic exhibition presents the history of the manor and people related to it.
Tourists can begin their tour at the Makasiinikahvila café. There they can buy a picnic basket containing a drink, fruit, something savoury and something sweet. A nice place to enjoy a snack is in the shade of the 300 year-old oak tree. They can also rest on hammocks hung between the trees. In Ankkapurha Culture Park, July goes by the name “Hammock July”.
The signs say: ”You may walk on the grass!” and ”Please enjoy the park!” There are no signs forbidding anything as the park wants its visitors to enjoy themselves. This might be, for example, a barefoot walk over the dew-covered lawns.
Old manor, new experiences
During the summer 2019, there are exhibitions by the Anjalankoski Art Society and TAIHAT-group. The manor is open during the Housing Fair at Koria between July 12 and August 11 from 12 to 18 o'clock. The manor is open for groups also at other times by appointment.
Various events take place in the manor park; AnjalaRun running event in July, open air cinema and festive dinners in August. During the Housing Fair there are plenty of activities from paddling to yoga. You can also experience an escape room game in the manor; can you find out what happened in the manor over 200 years ago?
Alvar Aalto and the Stone Age
From the manor house park, you can cross the rapids on a pedestrian path to the old mill area. The Ankkapurha Industrial Museum will take you through the history of the Finnish forest industry and present Finland’s first continuous board machine from 1897.
At the same time, you can take a walking tour through the architectural world of Alvar Aalto. There are integrated residential areas designed by the maestro in the 1930s and 1950s, and the Warpunen Museum, which displays the living quarters of a family working at the mill in the early 20th century and a 1920s office.
A short walk away from Ankkapurha Culture Park are stone-age dwellings, trenches dug before construction of the Salpalinja bunker line and Anjala cruciform church completed in 1756. The cemetery at Kirkkovuori was reserved for the use of the Wrede family at the end of the 19th century. There you can find an obelisk erected by prisoners at the grave of baroness Mathilda Wrede, precursor in the rehabilitation of prisoners in Finland.
Ankkapurha Culture Park also includes Anjala Youth Centre, the largest organiser of school camps in Southern Finland.
To Ankkapurha and back by bus
You can travel to Ankkapurha Culture Park and Tehtaanmäki, where you can explore the architecture of Alvar Aalto, by bus. Bus line 3 takes you from Kouvola's Travel Center to Anjala. Bus stops are located under a kilometer away from Tehtaanmäki and about 1,5 km away from Ankkapurha. During the Housing Fair (12.7. - 11.8.) there is a bus connection from Ankkapurha to the fair grounds on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The departures are in the morning and returns in the afternoon.