Simana Sissonen (1786-1848) is considered the most significant poetry singer of Finnish Karelia. He is said to have known nearly a hundred long poems by heart. Poems were epics, spells and wedding hymns.
Simana is said to have been a seer, healer, skillful builder, carpenter, hunter and fisher. He made everything needed to live in the wilderness with his own hands like buildings, agricultural tools, crockery and furniture. As a powerful seer he was able to hunt and fish more prey than other men in the same area.
Simana is buried in the Kokonniemi graveyard where a grobu (an orthodox burial monument / cenotaph) has been built in his memory.
Simana’s grobu. Photo: Henna Hietainen
The home of Simana Sissonen, Sissola, on the shore of the Mekrijärvi lake in Ilomantsi is the only poetry singer’s courtyard in Finland that is still situated in its original place. The courtyard of Sissola consists of two residential buildings – one being Simana’s cabin and the other cottage of Iivana, who was his brother. On the courtyard you can also find the cowshed, shed, woodshed, smoke sauna and a well. The old cultural landscape gives a framework for a unique expedition into the 19th century atmosphere.
In the cabin of Simana, built in the early 19th century, you can find a chamber containing a small exhibition showcasing the Mekrijärvi village and poetic heritage of the Sissonen family. The cottage of Iivana has been furnished with the original furniture belonging to the house, making it very atmospheric.
Sissola is a perfect place to publicise the Finnish-Kalevala culture, old and new Karelian traditions as well as organise events, exhibitions, concerts, seminars and educational events. Sissola can be rented for educational purposes, meetings and festivities. Sissola is open by appointment. Visits can be arranged beforehand with Ms. IrmaVäisänen tel. +358 (0)45 261 6601, email: irmavaisanen09 (a) gmail.com.
The Family Society of Sissonen owns and maintains Sissola courtyard. Everyone who is part of the family through mother, father or by marriage can join the Family Society.
The Contributional Society of Sissola supports Sissola’s maintenance, repairs buildings and organises events and fundraising activities. A member of the Contributional Society may be any person, association or other entity supporting the association’s activities. Among other things, the Contributional Society repaired the roofs of Sissola residential buildings in 2017.