Text: Olena de Andres Gonzalez and Minna Uusiniitty-Kivimäki / Center for Tourism Business Development, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences
In Satakunta region you can experience three historical ironworks with various tourist attractions. Kauttua Ironworks in Eura, the oldest of ironworks in Satakunta, is a living village with the longest continuous industrial history in Finland. Leineperi Ironworks in Ulvila is one of the best-preserved and most complete ironworks in Finland. From Leineperis idyllic rural village you can find a bunch of artisans’ shops. The third ironworks in Noormarkku is one of Finland’s largest and most spectacular historic industrial areas. It is the headquarter of the Ahlström family and an important base for A. Ahlström company as well as a marvellous tourist destination. Discover all three ironworks even in a weekend or enjoy the atmosphere longer! Which one is your favourite?
Around Kauttua Ironworks settlements on the banks of Eurajoki -river dates back more than one thousand years, but the village itself was founded in 1689, at the same time when the first ironworks were organized. Since then, the region has been famous for its industry for more than 300 years. The buildings that can be seen now reflect the architecture of the 19th and 20th century. The Ironworks has been listed as a cultural heritage site of national significance by the Finnish Heritage Agency. The best way to get to know the ironworks is to take a guided walking tour, listen to fascinating stories, impressive facts and interesting details about the history and todays’ life of the region.
Discover artists’ workshops and fall in love with hand made silver jewellery or paintings. Small shops offer the products of local craftspeople, and in small cafes you can try pastries and coffee from the own micro-roastery. Or would you like to visit performance of the Pyhäjärvi amateur theatre? Especially during the summer months, there are also many fairs, concerts and celebrations in the area.
After the Ahlström family arrived in the Kauttua area at the beginning of the 20th century, they reconfigured the ironworks mostly to the paper industry. Professional architects were invited to design the town structure, streets and the main buildings. The most famous of them was Alvar Aalto. His task was to form an industrial zone, decorate the adjacent territories and design residential premises. His Terraced House building from 1938 is one of the most significant results of the architect’s imagination. The multi-apartment 4-stores building without a single staircase surprises visitors even today. The house is built in such way that each floor has its own separate entrance. Now the building hosts regularly updated exhibitions where you can buy any item of interior you like.
Alvar Aalto also designed a sauna and laundry building in the Kauttua Ironworks (Kauttua Jokisauna) and apartments in Villa Aalto. In general, the construction plan was conceived in harmony with the surrounding nature and repeats its lines and transitions, taking into account the change of seasons and the sunlight for each building. You can visit hotels, manors and apart-hotels, Villa Aalto, as well as stay for the night in a place you would like the most. In many places you can also rent bicycles or walking sticks.
Kauttua Jokisauna is built on the very bank of the river and today it serves as a sauna café and design shop. The design of the restaurant is carefully preserved almost in its original form and can give you an unforgettable atmosphere of that time.
For sure you are eager to visit also Ironworks in Noormarkku and in Leineperi. From Kauttua it is less than one hour drive to Leineperi. There you can find the most idyllic village with a variety of workshops of the craftspeople and artists in the smiths’ old cottages. Blacksmithing products are made in the forge also today. Visit small shops, museum and the bridge of kisses, enjoy the beautiful milieu of historic buildings and river, and imagine the life in Ironworks. And don’t forget the delicacies made from local ingredients! You find them in a Café-Restaurant, which originally served as a bakery for Ironworks workers.
The crown of your trip is half an hour away from Leineperi: Noormarkku works or Ahlström works, as it is also called. Although in Kauttua the Ahlström family has played an important role, in Noormarkku their role is even more important. The industrial area of Noormarkku has been owned by Ahlström family since 1870, and it has been built up by during several generations to be one of Finland’s largest and most spectacular historic industrial areas. Still nowadays Noormarkku works is the headquarter for the family.
Aino and Alvar Aalto were friends of Ahlströms’ and their architecture can be seen also in Noormarkku: Villa Mairea is one of the top international works of 20th-century architecture. In addition to that, the area captivates with its museums, cultural tours and beautiful landscapes. It tempts to stay longer and to enjoy the services of the hotel and the restaurant, whose ingredients come partly from Ironworks’ forests.
The atmosphere of these three ironworks gently envelops you and allows you to make the same journey through time, for which so many tourists come here. Welcome!
The article was written as part of project “Growth for tourism in Satakunta region”, which highlights versatile tourism opportunities in Satakunta region with the support of the Rural Development Program of Finl