Come and enjoy the natural pleasure of Mekrijärvi’s tranquil landscape. The former research station of the University of Joensuu has now been refurbished for tourist use. Megrin Matkailu Oy started its operations in July 2017. Three entrepreneurs from Ilomantsi bought the properties of the Mekrijärvi research station, that had been closed down by the University of Eastern Finland, and used it to bring Megrin Matkailu to life.
The main building – designed by the Åberg-Sirén-Borg architects’ office as a school for the village of Mekrijärvi – and the additional buildings constructed in its vicinity offer a unique setting for visitors to Megri. From the main building, the authentic Ilomantsi lakeland landscape opens up towards Mekrijärvi, the marshland behind the lake, and the village of Ryökkylä. People were rowing over these waters centuries ago, and on these shores the famous rune singers of Mekrijärvi have shaped their songs – here is a place where history meets the present day!
Megrin Matkailu offers a great setting for seminars, meetings and functions. Megri’s renovated dining hall can accommodate up to 100 guests, and breakfast can be provided in the Koivula cafeteria for up to 60. In addition, there is space in Aho Hall for up to 60 guests. Accommodation is available for up to 90 people across three different buildings: Mäntylä, Leppälä and Haapala. What’s more, there are the Megri saunas that offer a great place to relax after a long day of meetings. Three different sauna options are available: the large and small wood-fired saunas located by the lake, and the atmospheric smoke sauna.
Just ask for a quote! We at Megri are here to serve. Why not come and pay a visit?
Location 62 46.1924, 30 58.3300
Mekrijärvi is one of the oldest and most significant villages in North Karelia, the westernmost region of the Karelian poem tradition and the home district of the well-known Sissonen and Huohvanainen families of singers.
The Compulsory Education Act, which entered into force in 1921, led to plans for building a school in Mekrijärvi.
The National Board of Education had published model drawings for elementary schools in rural areas, which had been drawn up by architect Yrjö Sadeniemi in 1907 and 1910. Further developed models were published in 1922 in the booklet “Building Designs for Rural Elementary Schools”, and for the school in Mekrijärvi they selected design number 10, which had been created by the Borg-Sirén-Åberg architects’ office.
Kaarlo Borg, Johan Sigfrid Sirén and Urho Åberg operated a joint office between 1918 and 1925, with their most significant joint achievement being the winning of the competition for the Parliament Building in 1924. However, that project was carried out by Siré in his own name. Borg is known, among other things, as the designer of the Helsinki Central Post office. Åberg’s achievements included winning, together with Walter ja Ivar Thoman, the design competition for the Stockmann Department Store, although the implementation of the project was given in the end to another award-winning architect Sigurd Frosterus.
In its style, the Mekrijärvi school building can be seen primarily as an example of 1920s classicism. However, the strong and tall theme for the end façade can be seen to demonstrate influences from national romanticism and Karelian traditions.
Construction of the school began in 1923 and was completed in 1924.
The builders took into account the construction location and located the building to better suit the landscape – the model design is thus a mirror image of the building that was actually constructed.
The tall and handsome façade has received its rightful place when viewed from the approach to the school, and the windows along the length of the building open out over Mekrijärvi.
After completion in 1924, the building was immediately put to full use as a school. At the end of the 1920s, external wooden cladding was added and the building was painted red and had its shingle roof replaced with tiles.
The building was in military use during the Winter War and the Continuation War. This heavy military use eroded the building, and a school inspector proposed in 1946 that a full renovation be carried out. The renovation was done in 1954, at which point the building was connected to the electricity supply and was repainted inside and out (grey). The water and sewage pipes were installed in 1962.
The school was closed down in 1971. The municipality of Ilomantsi offered to sell the property to the University of Joensuu, which had plans to establish a research station in a rural area primarily for supporting teaching of biology and geography. The sale took place in 1973.
Repair work was carried out to the main building between 1975 and 1977 to prepare it for use as a research station. At this point, the building`s exterior walls were painted yellow. The second construction phase in 1978 saw the building of the Leppälä accommodation facilities, the laboratory building, the warehouse building and the boathouse. During the third phase, in 1984, the cafeteria building was completed. In 1989, the second laboratory building was completed, as well as the Mäntylä and Haapala accommodation facilities.
In 2000 and 2001, significant changes and repairs were made to the interior of the main building. A log-built smoke sauna was added in 2005, and a heating station was built in 2006.
In 2010, the ownership of the property was transferred to the University of Eastern Finland (Rakennushallitus, Senaatti- kiinteistöt Oy) and University Properties of Finland Oy. The activities of the University of Eastern Finland’s Mekrijärvi research station were brought to a close at the end of 2016. In the following year, three bold Ilomantsi entrepreneurs bought the property and Megrin Matkailu Oy was brought to life.