to tradition, the village of Rimpi was founded in the mid 1800s
by Eljas, or Uljaska, Ahtonen. Ahtonen later became famous after
acting as the model for Väinämöinen in 1890, when the Finnish national
artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela painted his most significant Kalevala
painting, the Aino Triptych.
Rimpi was the gateway to Viena via Kuhmo for poetry collectors
and Karelianists. The visitors to Rimpi included Juvelius, Meriläinen,
Pääkkönen, Niemi and Ohrt, and, later, Paulaharju, who took his
now classic photograph of Uljaksa.
Gallen-Kallela and the Swedish artist Count Sparre made sketches
and drawings of the people in Rimpi and published these in their
works. Sparre was joined on his second trip to Rimpi by sculptor
Emil Wikström. Two years later (1894), the architects Yrjö Blomstedt
and Victor Sucksdorff began their journey to Karelia in Rimpi:
A short way from Juortane is the first Orthodox house in
Rimpi; it is still on the Finnish side of the border, but very
close to the frontier. It was here that we saw a house most remarkable
for purposes of our study of architecture, for it is a bridge
or transitional structure between the Finnish and Russian-Karelian
styles. The dwelling proper conforms exactly to the simplest type
of the Russian-Karelian model, but the frame is particularly well
house Blomstedt describes here was burnt to the ground by Finnish
soldiers during the Winter War, as was another house, the Huoseisvaara
house, which Blomstedt and Sucksdorff said had been built perfectly
in accordance with the Viena tradition. The houses were burnt by
Finnish soldiers on the premise that the enemy could have made use
of them, although there was no military activity near the village
during the War.
The village rose from the ashes after the War, but the authorities
would not allow people to build houses in the Viena style. In the
early 1980s, there were no longer any year-round residents, but
one did settle there again in 1991.
What to see