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Kokkola’s old town area, Neristan, is one of the most cohesive and extensive areas of preserved wooden buildings in Finland. This 'downtown' area used to be a district inhabited by the city's craftsmen and sailors, with small plots divided among several families. The forceful Central Ostrobothnian tradition in handicraft and carpentry brought fine proportions and artless elegance to even the most modest of houses The changing landscape
The City of Kokkola was founded by the king of Sweden, Gustav II Adolf, in September 1620. At the time of the city’s founding, sailing ships could be navigated all the way to the city centre, to where the Market Square is now located. Strong uplift along the Ostrobothnian coast has modified the landscape of the area over the centuries. Standing in the Market Square today, all that remains to remind us of the former extent of the Kokkolahti bay is a small channel, the Kaupunginsalmi narrows, with the 21st century sea-front now lying more than a kilometer north of the Market Square.
The Vanhansatamanlahti bay, opening out from the mouth of the Kaupunginsalmi inlet, and the stage for many significant episodes in the city's history, remains the target for constant development. The Kokkola Housing Fair was held in this area in the summer of 2011. The increasing shallowness of Vanhansatamanlahti bay through land uplift resulted in the transfer more than a century ago of port facilities to the site of the modern industrial port at Ykspihjala, five kilometers west of the centre.
In the 21st century, Neristan has cemented its status as a vibrant traditional town, and a nationally renowned area of cultural-historical significance, in which one can still sense the Kokkola of olden days.
On the outskirts of the central area (Gamlakarleby) lies a network of living rural population centres. First the Swedish-speaking villages Rödsö, Sokoja, Vittsar and Öja, then, travelling farther north or east, the villages of Kälviä, Lohtaja and Ullava, which joined Kokkola at the start of 2009. Thanks to the consolidation of municipalities, the old trading and industrial city has also become a nationally significant centre of agricultural production.
Kokkola is the financial, administrative, educational and cultural epicentre of Central Ostrobothnia. The city covers a total area of 1,444 km², and around 13 per cent of its 47,570 inhabitants speak Swedish as a first language.
You can find more detailed information about Kokkola in the other sections of this website. Make yourself at home!