Port of Joensuu
Review and History

The Port of Joensuu lies at the mouth of the Pielis River in southeastern Finland. It is about 380 kilometers northeast of Helsinki and 278 kilometers northwest of Saint Petersburg. It is part of the North Karelia region. The Port of Joensuu is a university town, with more than 8000 students at the University of Joensuu and 3500 students at the North Karelia Polytechnic. It is also home to the European Forest Institute and several international companies. In 2005, almost 58 thousand people lived in the Port of Joensuu.

The Port of Joensuu was founded in 1848 by Russia’s Tsar Nicholas I. It was a manufacturing and commercial center throughout the rest of the 19th Century. The Port of Joensuu’s proximity to Russia has been an important factor in the city’s development.

In 1856, the Saimaa Canal was completed, allowing for trade between St. Petersburg, North Karelia, and Central Europe. For centuries, Karelian traders traveled the Pielinen River and canals. The canal allowed for more traffic and bigger vessels. During its golden age, the river saw thousands of barges, steamboats, and logging boats. By the beginning of the 1900s, the Port of Joensuu was one of Finland’s biggest harbor cities.

In 1860, local sawmills grew more prosperous when the city got commercial rights and industrial restrictions were lifted. During that period, it was a center for the glass industry and was home to a large foreign population.

Over the past several decades, the agrarian community has become an important economic hub for the North Karelia region. It became the region’s capital in 1960. The University of Joensuu was established in 1969, contributing to greater development of the city. Several institutes complement the university to create a diverse international community focusing on science, commerce, and industry. Called the “Forest Capital of Europe,” it is home to the European Forest Institute and John Deere Forestry.

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