recorded history, Uhtua has been the largest village in Viena and
the region's economic center, although in the early 1800s it was
divided administratively at the Uhutjoki River into the parishes
of Vuokkiniemi and Paanajärvi. Later, Uhtua and its neighboring
villages became a municipality.
the Soviet Union was formed, Uhtua became a district center, although
the borders of that district have varied according to the different
political trends. The district was given the name "Kalevala"
to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the publication of the epic.
When the infamous policy of concentration began, which led to the
liquidation of many villages, the districts of Kalevala and Kiesting
were combined with the district of Kemi to create a new, large and
supposedly "efficient" administrative unit.
For Uhtua, this change, which occurred in 1961, meant the loss
of its name: with the Kalevala district now gone, the village -
against the wishes of its inhabitants - was renamed "Kalevala"
so that the name of the epic would somehow remain visible.
The new, larger district did not last very long, and the present
districts of Kemi, Kalevala and Louhi were created in Viena. Yet,
the politicians did not have the courage to restore the "villages
without perspective" which had been destroyed. Uhtua was not
even given its original name back.
When construction began on the mine and industrial complex in Kostomuksha
and the housing these necessitated, the area was still part of the
Kalevala district. However, when the population of Kostomuksha reached
10,000 in 1983, and it received its city charter, the city and its
detached from the Kalevala district to become an administrative
unit of its own. In 1988, the area administered by the Vuokkiniemi
village council was annexed to the city, reducing the size of the
Kalevala district even further.
At the beginning of the 1990s, the Kalevala district included the
following villages and settlements: Kalevala (Uhtua), Vuonninen,
Jyskyjärvi, Jyvöälahti, Kepa, Kuusiniemi, Luusalmi,
Borovoi and Uusi Jyskyjärvi.
In Lönnrot's time, Uhtua had 80 houses. The census of 1905
recorded 204 houses and 1,206 inhabitants in the village.
In the days when poetry collectors frequented the area, Uhtua was
divided into four parts: Likopää, the wealthiest part
of the village, snaked along the shore of Lake Kuittijärvi;
Ryhjä, located between Likopää and the Uhutjoki River,
was the site of an old
tasouna and church; Miitkala, a settlement on the other side
of the river; and Lamminpohja, located on the river at one of its
wide, quiet stretches. Later additions to the village are Issakkala,
built between Lamminpohja and Miitkala, and Huponsuo, an area which
At present, the village of Uhtua has some 5,000 inhabitants (5,230
according to the 1989 census). Karelians are now in the minority
(2,360, or 45.1%) in the administrative center of their national
district, a region where before the War one rarely heard any Russian
spoken. Now Russian is the everyday language, with Karelian being
used only among members of the older generation who are original
inhabitants of the region.