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Saimaa Lakeland and its surroundings

Saimaa is a labyrinth of open lakes and sheltered bays with an enormous number of islands. This is why Saimaa Lakeland is not easily perceived as a single lake. Over the decades, the Saimaa district has become a true paradise for summer holidays.

The first inhabitants in the Saimaa region

First human inhabitants arrived to the Saimaa region quite shortly after the Ice Age. Evidence of ancient human inhabitation is still visible at the shores of Saimaa Lakeland; there are hollows used for living, ruins of early Saami inhabitation and rock paintings. At the time, people travelled around mainly trough water routes, hence water was connecting people.

The shores of Saimaa Lakeland

The shores of Saimaa Lakeland are constantly shaped by ice and waves. In Addition, shore wildlife is subject to both natural and human-induced changes in the water level. Considerable changes in water level are typical of Saimaa Lakeland; water may stay high - or low - for several years.

There are plenty of rocky shores in Saimaa Lakeland that are smoothened by the Ice Age. Pebble and sandy shores are also found. Over the years, humans have altered the vegetation on the shores of Saimaa Lakeland. Shores have also been shaped and built on. In addition, growing number of holiday homes and increasing leisure use throughout Saimaa Lakeland has an impact on the lakeside nature.

The disarming Saimaa ringed seal

Withdrawing of the ice cap after the Ice Age and the subsequent land uplift trapped the Saimaa ringed seal (Phoca hispida saimensis) in the Saimaa basin roughly 9,000 years ago. Saimaa ringed seal is a relic, whose cousins are the Lagoda ringed seal and the Baltic ringed seal. Saimaa ringed seal is one of the few fresh water seal species and most endangered animals: the species - protected since 1955 - is not found anywhere else in the world. Thanks to persistent research and protection, the number of Saimaa ringed seals is currently growing, albeit moderately.


Further information:

Wikipedia - Saimaa ringed seal