Have You Ever Heard of the City of Raahe?
Raahe, one of Finland's municipalities, boasts of beautiful historical sites. Travelling had been one of the most essential experiences for any human being. Travel destinations can vary from modern to more rustic ones. Some would visit a place for different reasons as well. some would visit a place because of the beautiful photos they could take, and some would visit for historical reasons. This is an advantage for those who want to visit unique places.
Raahe has a small population of 25 000 residents but due to various development projects, it has one of the lowest employment rates. These developments did not change the town. The old wooden buildings stood still and visiting the town is like going back in time. There are also various stores, pubs and restaurants that anybody can enjoy. While other small towns and municipalities find it difficult to offer services to tourists, that is not the case in Raahe. They have various hobbies and establishments that locals and tourists alike would enjoy.
Raahe has a deep history. Founded in 1649 by a Swedish governor-general, the city was called Brahestad, Raahe in Finnish. Raahe was known as the town that used wood to build homes and other establishments thus it is known as a wooden town. Even public buildings such as the city hall are made of logs. Up to this day, the town still holds the name of a wooden town, and the old wooden structures are their main attraction.
The city of Raahe had also experienced the worst time. They experienced a famine and wars that killed thousands of residents of the town. In the 17th century, Finland experienced years of crop failure. This resulted in starvation and eventually, death. When the country was slowly recovering from famine, the Great Northern War started. The town was burned by Russian troops. Residents of Raahe either left for Sweden, run to Northern Finland, or hiding in the woods. The unlucky ones were captured, tortured, and imprisoned.
When peace was achieved, the survivors and entrepreneurs rebuilt the town. They restored it to its former glory. From the city hall and other wooden buildings. Not only were the buildings restored, but the town also grow and prosper. After obtaining the staple town right and the right to sail freely to other countries, they were able to export goods. Some of these goods include pitch and tar, timber, pelts, and butter. Having ports give them an advantage to easily trade with other countries and towns.
As the town grows economically so thus their population. The increase in population also increased the skills of its inhabitants. Some of the inhabitants are craftsmen thus they can create products that increased their export. As the town progressed, the difference in social status had been more evident. The wealthier the family is, the nearer they are in town. Those who are in power, like the mayor and other members of the city council, would also build their homes in the city center.
The prosperity of the town had been more evident when new homes and establishments had been built. The rise of two-story homes. The size of the homes also depends on the wealth of the family. The wealthier the family, the bigger the homes. These homes also come with huge plots and are in the center of the town.
Poorer families would live on the outskirts of the town, in smaller homes, and smaller pieces of land as well. Raahe was never known as an agricultural town so smaller plots in the outskirts, do not affect the products they produce. Progress also resulted in the extension of the town's territory.
At the height of the progress of the town, comes a huge fire. The fire had engulfed most of the homes and buildings in the town center. The city was one of the buildings badly hit. The whole building was damaged including the records in it.
The other part of the town where the church and smaller homes were located was saved from the fire. The fire that had engulfed Raahe had opened an opportunity to rebuild the town and create a new plan. This has resulted in building the market to be bigger and located in a more strategic area.
New guidelines for building homes had also been established. No two-story homes could be built, instead, homes would have stone bases and these will be uniform. Despite the changes in the market and the homes, the width of the roads remains the same.
Raahe was later connected to other parts of Finland when a railway was finally connected to the town. It took some years for the project to be completed but this had been helpful to the residents of the town. It is almost the same time that the railway got connected that the sailing ship was replaced by steamboats.
This did not deter the trade that happens between Raahe, the surrounding towns, and even other countries. Instead, the steamboats strengthened the trading industry of the town.
In 1960, Rautaruukki steelworks opened a factory in the town. This attracted people to come to Raahe and stay there for good. 7000 men were employed in the factory to date. This also pushed for new and rapid changes in the town. The rise in population means that new homes are needed.
This almost demolished the wooden homes. However, instead of demolishing the old homes, they created a new center. Government services were also moved to the new center. The old wooden homes were preserved. To this date, when visiting Raahe, the evidence of this period could be seen. On the other side of town where more modern homes and amenities were present and preserved wooden homes.
The preservation of the old town saved 150 homes and around 200 outbuildings. The old part of the town is not just a remnant of the town. Instead, the old town is still part of Raahe which is being occupied by its residents. The preservation had proven that years later, despite development, old homes can still be used.
Comments are closed.