The Golden Age of Dachas

Completion of the rail connection between Vyborg and St. Petersburg in 1870 turned the Karelian Isthmus into a very attractive summer resort for Russian families. Even before, Finland had eagerly sold land to Russians, and the latter built numerous summer villas – dachas – on the Isthmus. In early 20th century, a large part of the summer residents in the Terijoki area arrived from St. Petersburg. In addition to wealthy representatives of high society, the summer residents included businessmen, members of liberal professions, and blue-collar workers.

Many people from St. Petersburg enjoyed their life on the Isthmus, because they liked the colourful Finns, closeness to nature, and tranquillity. The summer residents brought to Terijoki a number of service-related jobs, for they needed servants and coachmen, for example. The dachas also attracted various pedlars and entertainers to the region.

Around 1910, foreigners owned approx. 5,000 villas on the Isthmus, and there were 50,000 summer residents from St. Petersburg in Terijoki alone. One of them was ​Elena Guro, a painter and a poet. In 1917, Finns owned no more than 10% of the 12,000 summer villas in Terijoki.

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More about online exhibition

Museum’s work group:
Mona Taipale, Satu Ståhlberg and Johanna Piipponen

Script for the online exhibition: Pauliina Veijalainen
The online exhibition’s script is based on the joint exhibition Barefoot of the Lappeenranta museums, which was scripted by Anna Kortelainen. The character texts of the online exhibition are based on the articles by Anna Kortelainen in the book Avojaloin – 20 tositarinaa Karjalan Kannakselta (publisher: Gummerus).

Graphic design: Päivi Veijalainen / Huhtikuu

Technical implementation: Marko Myllymäki / Atadone

Audio clip scripts: Anna Kortelainen

Audio clip readers:
Jukka Lehtinen
Liisa Lehtinen
Maria Lehtinen
Mikko Pirinen
Netta Salonsaari
Antti Taipale
Helmi Taipale
Mikko Taipale
Mona Taipale

Image copyrights:
Etelä-Karjalan museo (EKM)
Etelä-Karjalan taidemuseo (EKTM)
Lintulan luostari
National Board of Antiquities
Pietarin kaupunginmuseo
(State Museum of the History of St Petersburg. St Petersburg)
Ostrobothnian Museum
Border Museum
Finnish Labour Museum Werstas (TW)
Private collections

The exhibition is supported by the National Board of Antiquities