The Raahe region comprises Raahe, Siikajoki and Pyhäjoki. Our home is located in North Ostrobothnia, Finland, on the shore of the Bay of Bothnia, between and on the banks of the Siikajoki and Pyhäjoki rivers.
The Visit Raahe website provides comprehensive travel information about the entire region. You may also be interested in the history of the local municipalities and other facts. This will help you get started.
The Raahe region is a vibrant area with 35,000 inhabitants comprising the municipalities of Pyhäjoki, Raahe and Siikajoki. The reputation of the Raahe region is embodied in a dynamic present and fascinating history as well as steel, gold and clean energy.
The website is full of place names because of our history, during which villages and municipalities have been merged following the national trend. However, villages have retained strong identities, so addresses give the city and municipality as well as the specific village. There are numerous village associations that actively protect local interests and organise public events: Raahe has over 20 associations, Siikajoki has nine and Pyhäjoki four.
- On 1 January 1994, the official Raahe region included the City of Raahe and the municipalities of Pattijoki, Pyhäjoki, Ruukki, Siikajoki and Vihanti.
- On 1 January 2003, Pattijoki and Raahe merged into the City of Raahe.
- On 1 January 2007, Ruukki and Siikajoki merged into the Municipality of Siikajoki.
- On 1 January 2013, Raahe and Vihanti merged into the City of Raahe.
Count Per Brahe, Governor General of Finland, founded the town in 1649 because a trading port was needed for trading goods produced in the region. The initial plan was to establish the town at the port of Salo which had already hosted a lively marketplace back in the medieval times. However, the waters in the region were found to be too shallow, but there was a suitable peninsula only a stone’s throw away. The town was initially called Salo, but it was changed to Brahestad in 1652.
The town’s main sources of livelihood were commercial seafaring and shipbuilding, and Raahe was an important harbour town for a significant part of Northern Finland. The first ship dock and the burning site for pitch were located at Pitkäkari. In the 18th century, the shipyards were moved to the town’s shore, in the area between today’s Packhouse Museum and Cortenkatu. Besides merchants and seafarers, the town was home to a great number of craftsmen.
The young town was plagued in turns by famine, envious neighbouring towns, war and destructive fires. In 1791, Raahe was finally granted staple town rights. This gave rise to brisk commercial activity directly with the Netherlands, France, Great Britain and the Mediterranean countries. The most important exports were tar and pitch; the most significant import was salt. Of course, foreign trade had been conducted from Raahe in earlier times as well, but the staple town charter enabled trade without intermediaries.
In the 1860s and 1870s, Raahe was Finland’s biggest shipping trade town for about ten years. It was a powerful factor in terms of the amount of cargo passing through the port. Some of the highlights from that era are the wooden Old Town as well as the charming local museum, the oldest in Finland.
Gradually, industrial activity started emerging along with the company Ruona Oy, for example. In 1952, the works related to Finland’s war reparation efforts came to an end and Ruona declared bankruptcy. This was a heavy blow to the town, and many locals moved to southern Finland and Sweden in great numbers. However, the town stirred with renewed growth in 1961 when the Rautaruukki steelworks was founded and employment was available yet again.
Raahe expanded in terms of its surface area and population in 1973 when the Municipality of Saloinen merged with Raahe. Later on, the City of Raahe and the Municipality of Pattijoki were abolished and a new city, Raahe, was established in 2003. Raahe and Vihanti merged in 2013. Read more [Source: City of Raahe]
The first inhabitants arrived at the mouth of the Siikajoki River in the 1400s, but the area was not permanently settled until the mid-1500s by settlers from the Savo region. The area of Revonlahti also received some settlers from the coast. Settlement expanded rapidly in the next few centuries, except in the river valley, which was too narrow to provide opportunities for settlement. Population growth was based on agriculture and especially cattle farming. Siikajoki River was also a source of salmon and whitefish.
The region was part of the Saloinen parish at first. The first church in Siikajoki was probably built in 1589, but it was burned by the Russians in 1591. Siikajoki became a dependent parish of Saloinen in 1590. A second church for the parish was built in 1600, and a new wooden church was opened in 1701. The appearance of the church changed significantly in the renovation of 1852. Siikajoki was separated into an independent parish in 1689. The parish covered a large area with parts that have since then become independent themselves: Rantsila, Piippola, Paavola, Pulkkila, Kestilä, Pyhäntä and Revonlahti. Paavola became a chapel of Siikajoki in 1702 and a dependent parish in 1811. Paavola became an independent parish in 1874. Revonlahti became a dependent parish of Siikajoki in 1845.
Siikajoki has been hit frequently by wars. The Russians caused widespread destruction in the region in the late 1550s, for example. During the Finnish War, many famous battles took place in the Siikajoki region. The Battle of Siikajoki, where the troops led by C. J. Adlercreutz defeated the advancing Russians led by Y. P. Kulnev, was fought on 18 April 1808. The victory halted the retreat that the Swedish army has been on throughout the winter. One of the most famous battles of the Finnish War was fought in Revonlahti on 27–28 April 1808. The battle is also known as the Battle of Revolax. In the battle, the troops led by C. A. Adlercreutz and C. O. Cronstedt gained an overwhelming victory over the Russians led by General Bulatov. The victory saved the Swedish main force from being completely outflanked.
Siikajoki became an independent parish in 1868. The population of Siikajoki grew slowly in the first decades of the 20th century. In 1935, there were 2,262 inhabitants. After that, the population began to fall due to emigration. In 1960, there were 1,703 inhabitants, and in 1980 only 1,244. The population started to grow again in the 1980s. Paavola became an independent municipality in 1874 and Revonlahti in 1930.
The Municipality of Ruukki came to be when the municipalities of Paavola and Revonlahti merged in 1973. The name Ruukki came from the name of Ruukki village, then located in the Municipality of Paavola. On 1 January 2007, the municipalities of Ruukki and Siikajoki were disbanded and replaced with a new Municipality of Siikajoki after referendums in both municipalities. Ruukki became the centre of the new municipality. The present coat of arms of the municipality mirrors its history. The stars come from the coat of arms of Revonlahti, the log with its saw-tooth top edge and wavy bottom edge from the coat of arms of Paavola, and the fish from the coat of arms of Siikajoki. [Source: Wikipedia]
Pyhäjoki was separated from Saloinen into an independent parish as early as 1573. At first, it also included Pyhäjärvi, Kärsämäki, Haapavesi, Oulainen and Merijärvi, which became independent parishes in the second half of the 19th century. The first church was built in 1586. It was replaced with a cruciform church designed by C. L. Engel completed in 1844, which burned after a lightning strike in 1974. A new church was built in 1976–1977.
In the mid-1600s, the village of Pyhäjoki had 67 houses. However, the population decreased during the years of famine in 1695–1697 and the Russian occupation of Finland in the early 18th century. During the Finnish War, there were bloody skirmishes on 16 April 1808 in Yppäri ja Viirre in Pyhäjoki. The population got its livelihood from agriculture, cattle farming and river and sea fishing. They also hunted seals and forest game. Pyhäjoki River was an important thoroughfare used to transport tar, among other goods. There was also a station for storage and inspection of tar for export near Jokisuu harbour.
Today, Pyhäjoki River is known for its pure nature and clean energy. In the municipality embraced by the sea and river, nature is close to the people, and services are easily accessible. Pyhäjoki River, with flows into the Bay of Bothnia, has several rapids popular with fishermen and kayakers. Travelling inland from the seaside villages, the landscape ranges from wide open fields to almost unspoiled wild forest areas and spectacular wind parks. [Source: Wikipedia, Pyhäjoki – Your Home by the Waters]