Border Zone

Private collection.

The border between Finland and Russia was somewhat conditional for centuries. Before Finland’s independence, people often crossed the border for visiting the neighbouring villages, for trading, studying, or looking for a job. Only after the independence, the border truly became an obstacle to such everyday activities. During the Cold War, Finns were altogether prohibited to visit the Karelian Isthmus on the Soviet side. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the border is open again, and cross-border visits are once again possible on regular basis.

In the 1920s, the recently closed border fascinated Finns. Many fears and myths were associated with it. Tourists, members of the White Guard and Lotta Svärd made trips to the Rajajoki border river. In the late 1930s, when the feeling of war was in the air, several notable foreign guests were taken to the Isthmus and Terijoki to inspect the border and see how it is guarded.

You can find out more about the exploration of borders and border regions at the following address: This website also has study materials intended for schools.

Click on a thumbnail to display the larger image:

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