Swedish aristocrats did not stint on "investments" in Finnish cities
In the Baltic, the era of the early Middle Ages was marked by the campaigns of the Vikings and the Knights of the Crusaders, who opened the way for Swedish merchants. The konungi and the court nobility were not slow to subordinate to themselves all the countries of the modern Baltic, as well as Finland. The impoverished Livonian barons, taking advantage of the fact that Finland was part of the Swedish kingdom, acquired land at a distant gloomy land at preferential prices and leased them to Finnish peasants, who were doomed to pay taxes not only to landowners, but also to the king. In a Protestant state, pastors not only performed educational activities, but acted as judges and tax collectors.
By the way, the post of fiscal was established by Peter the Great in Russia during the Northern War, which taught him not only to fight, but also to govern the country.
Unlike the architecture of neighboring countries, Finnish urban culture is relatively young: the oldest Finnish city of Turku (before the 12th century, it was called Torg) was founded in 1309. The 700th anniversary, marked thirty years ago, is not age! Veliky Novgorod, which celebrates 1,150 years this year, is much older than Turku. This is not to mention Athens and Rome, carried their name through the millennia. Or Byzantium, then Constantinople, now known as Istanbul ...
Residential buildings in medieval European cities have long traditions dating back to ancient times. The Finnish city was significantly different from the modern urban landscapes of Western Europe, it was not similar to the old Russian cities.
Defensive fortifications were erected on the outskirts of states due to the constant fights and revisions of the border line. Outposts in the form of stone fortresses were built on the outskirts of Finland, but in the heart of the country dominated the rural landscape with small towns, which consisted of wooden buildings. In the Middle Ages, Finland represented the territory over which individual farms were scattered.
Construction of large cities began in the mid-17th century, when Governor-General Pietari Brahe (Peter Brahe or Per Brahe Jr.), a Swedish nobleman, Count, acted as a reformer in Finnish housing. Thanks to the hectic activity of the Swedish aristocrat, the foundations of such famous cities as Kajaani, Lappeenranta and Kuopio were laid. “The Count's Period,” as historians dubbed Pietari Brahe’s time, marked the beginning of the construction of urban housing in Finland, then under the rule of the Swedish kingdom.
During the count period, a church, a bishopric, a court were built in Kuopio, a market square and eight small residential areas were built on the lakeside. A hut, heated in a black way, was a common structure not only in the countryside, but also in the city. Priests and high officials have already begun to equip their homes with novelties, that is, stoves with chimney-shaped fireplaces decorated with Dutch-style tiles. Peasant hut, heated in a black way, had the advantage: it was kept warm longer.
In the city of Kuopio, in the first half of the 18th century, the houses of senior military officials were equipped with stoves that were used in many public buildings, palaces, and dwellings of wealthy people in Europe long ago. Lower ranks, including non-commissioned officers, were housed in peasant huts. Ordinary people, peasant tenants (torpari) lived in the old manner.
In 1776, as a result of the activities of land surveyor Per Kjellman, who had already made winter measurements twice, circling Kuopio Cape on the ice of Lake Kallavesi, the plan of the central part of the city was created. So in Kuopio there were quarters and streets. The facades of the houses lined up in a straight line, each yard was fenced with a gate. In accordance with the plan, the city began to be built up from the south.
European cities are characterized by social construction, suggesting the resettlement of people of different classes in different parts of the city. The division into classes is also felt in ancient cemeteries: looking at the inscriptions on the monuments, you can see that shoemakers, for example, were buried side by side. The graves of the merchants are on the sidelines, and the spiritual fathers rest in another cemetery at the church.
The noble nobility lived in the southern part of the city, where, however, there were two artisan quarters. The northern region was completely owned by the workers. The bourgeoisie and the servants lived in both the southern and northern regions, but carpenters, cab drivers and fishermen only in the northern part of the city. The servants lived in the quarters of the owners.
Kuopio’s urban landscape at the end of the 18th century was constantly changing. The most representative houses were built in the rococo style with fancy ornaments - stylized acanthus sheets, garlands, veneer of vertical boards.
On the houses built in the years 1780-1790, is the seal of the Swedish style architecture of King Gustav. At the end of the 18th century, new light-colored log buildings along the street, painted in light colors, quickly acquired a gray tint. Built at the same time, elegant, painted with red paint - ocher - houses became the hallmark of the city. Pigs, geese and other domestic animals strolling along cobblestone streets, gardens and front gardens created in the very center created a unique atmosphere of a rural suburb.
Narrow streets with elegant houses, decorated with curly brackets for signs (for example, famous pretzels or boots), neatly painted drainpipes were characteristic of many Finnish cities, from the western to the eastern border. Windmills, a church in the Episcopal Park, an underpass located on Governor’s Street near the county hospital, a distillery, a primary school, a pharmacy and a post office are part of the city’s landscape. Built near the frontal place (scaffold), the prison fit into the landscape of the city, in which humbly flowed provincial life, protected by law.
Swedish kings occasionally inspected their eastern domains. Dandy carriages, accompanied by armed officers in triangular hats, rolled along forest roads. Peasants from distant farms on duty at the inns, scattered throughout the path, to watch at least one eye on the royal persons.
In one town in the middle of the square lies a huge boulder. To my question: “What is this monument?” The locals proudly answered that his highness had once blessed the lands of one of the impoverished baron with the need for stone. The servants joined the king, and then, when the carriage disappeared in a dusty cloud, and the local peasants. The “king’s place of residence” became so legendary that a market square was pitched around a boulder, and a pickaxe was built nearby.
The second part of the article will tell about the Russian period in the history of Kuopio.