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Important Places

In Finnish Mythology

By Molly Kalafut

This is intended as a lookup reference for the English translations of the Kalevala. Many of the words used in the 1800s are now out of date or were incorrectly translated altogether. I've made note of these where possible thanks to suggestions from Antti Värri.


The palace of the water-god Ahto and his wife. Their castle is at the bottom of the sea in the "salmon-rocks".


Aiuelake is the name of the lake that the Fire-child falls into.


According to Crawford, Hälläpyörä is a lake in Finland, however I am told it is actually rapids in Häme. 


Horna is a sacred rock found in Finland. (Crawford, 1888)


Imatra is a waterfall near Wiborg according to Crawford, but it is likely a mistranslation and is actually rapids. It is also the name of a modern city near the rapids.


Ingerland refers to St. Petersburg, Russia. (Crawford, 1888)


Jamen is a river in Finland that is also called Yamen. (Crawford, 1988)


John Martin Crawford's glossary for the 1988 English translation of the Kalevala describes it as "Curiously, the river of Palestine".


Joukola is the name for Joukahainen's home. It is also called Youkola. (Crawford, 1888)


The word "Jumala" can be confusing because in some context it means "the heavens" where the god Ukko lives, but in other places it actually means the actual god himself or the Christian God.


Kaatrakoski is a waterfall located in Karjala according to Crawford, but that is likely a mistranslation and in fact refers to rapids.


"on the heaths of Kalevala" -Runo 3

The word "Kalevala" translates to "The Land of Heroes". It refers to both the place (Finland), and the epic poem of the same name describing the heroes and mythology of the area.

Karjala / Karelia

This is a province of Finland according to Crawford, 1888. In the Kalevala it can refer to Finland in general, and may also refer in modern Finnish to an eastern province lost to USSR in World War II.

Karyala - Karyala is the seat of the waterfall/rapids Kaatrakoski. (Crawford, 1888)

Katrakoski - See Kaatrakoski (Crawford, 1888)


Kemi is a river in Finland according to Crawford, 1888. It is the modern name of both a city and a river in Lapland. The word "kemi" directly translates to "river".


Kipukivi is the rock in the Underworld River. The spirits of all plagues and diseases are imprisoned underneath it. (Crawford, 1888)


"I am off to war in Northland, Off to fight the lads of Lapland" -Runo 12

Lapland is another name for the Northland.


Lempibay is a bay in Finland. (Crawford, 1888)


Linnurata is the name given to the Milky Way, translated as "Bird-Way".


Luotola is a bay in Finland that may be found near Joukola, Joukahainen's home. (Crawford, 1888)


Also called Raatikko, and known as the place where women who die as virgins go.

Metsola - See Tapiola


Moskva is a province of Suomi according to Crawford, 1888. In modern Finnish, "Moskva" is not used in favor of "Moskova", which refers to Moscow.


Newa is a river in Finland according to Crawford, 1888. It is also a river that runs through the city of St. Petersburg.


The Northland is a province of Finland that has several names; Dusterland, Lapland, Pimentola, Pohja, Pohya, Pohjola, Pohyola.

Pimentola - See Pohjola


"Tall the trees on Pisa's Hill" -Runo 3

Pisa is a mountain of Finland. (Crawford, 1888)

Pohja - See Pohjola

Pohya - See Pohjola


"Yonder to that cold north village, To that gloomy Pohjola." Runo 6, Kalevala
"And old Vainamoinen answered: "Up in twilit Pohjola, In the gloomy land of sedges, That is where I've spent my time, That is where I have been living, Visiting round in Lappish quarters, There among the great enchanters." -Runo 10

Pohjola is a name for a northern province of Finland. It has several names; Dusterland, Lapland, Pimentola, Pohja, Pohya, Pohjola, Pohyola, Sara, Sariola, Turja, Turya and Untamala.


Rutja is a waterfall in the Northland. It is also called Rutya, and possibly Turja, Turya and Tyrja. (Crawford, 1888). "Turja" and "Turya" are also words for Pohjola, which can be confusing.

Rutya - See Rutja


Saari (or the incorrect Sahri) is the home of Kyllikki, the bride of Lemminkäinen according to Crawford, 1888. The word "saari" means "island" and here it refers to an island in Estonia known for its beautiful girls. It is called "Saarenmaa" in Finnish or "Saaremaa" in Estonian.

Sariola - See Pohjola


Sawo (also called Sawa by Crawford) refers to eastern Finland. In modern Finnish it is Savo.


"From the murky shades of Northland, From the foggy fields of Sedgeland." -Runo 7

Sedgeland is another word for Pohjola and the Northland.


Suomi, alternately called "swomi" by Crawford, is the ancient lands of the Finns. It is pronounced "swoh-mee".

Swomi - See Suomi (Crawford, 1888)


Tanika is a magic mansion of Pohja. (Crawford, 1888)

Tapiola - See Metsola


Singing better suits this earth Than it does the Underworld In the shades of Tuonela." -Joukahainen's mother in Runo 6, Kalevala

Tuonela is the Underworld of Tuoni; a dark underground where the dead sleep eternally. Souls enter it by crossing a dark river by boat. It is also called Ulappala.

Turja - See both Pohjola and Rutja

Turya - See both Pohjola and also Rutja

Tyrja - See Rutja

Ulappala - See Tuonela

Untamala - See Pohjola (Crawford)


"in the glades of Vainola" -Runo 3

Vainola (and alternately Wainola) refers to the home of Väinämöinen, and can be used to mean Kalevala ("The Home of Heroes").


Vuoksi is a river in eastern Finland, and is also referred to as Vuoksen/Wuoksen. (Crawford, 1888)

Wainola - See "Vainola"

Wuoksen - See Vuoksen

Yamen - See Jamen (The "J" is more proper to use than "Y")

Youkola - See Joukola (The "J" is more proper to use than "Y")

Youmala - See Jumala (The "J" is more proper to use than "Y")

Other Places

These are Finnish places of import that actually exist.

  • Pyhäjärvi - "sacred lake" and is the most commonly used name for lakes in Finland.
  • Pyhäjoki - "sacred river" and the name of a river in Ostrobothnia.
  • Vöhanda - a rivulet in Estonia.
  • Eim - "sacred lake" in Estonia.

Finnish Pantheon Finnish Animals Finnish Places


Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and beyond! By Molly Kalafut