Kuopio () is a Finnish city and municipality located in the region of Northern Savonia (Pohjois-Savo). It has a population of , which makes it the ninth-most populous city in Finland and the most populous city in Eastern Finland Province. Kuopio has a total area of , of which is water and half is forest. Though the city's population is a spread-out , the city's urban areas are populated comparably densely (urban area: 1,618 /km²), making Kuopio Finland's second-most densely populated city.
Since 1969 Kuopio has grown extensively through municipality mergers. Kuopio's population surpassed 100,000 when the town of Nilsiä joined the city at the beginning of 2013.
Kuopio is the current European Region of Gastronomy.
NameSeveral explanations are behind the name Kuopio. The first is that in the 16th century, a certain influential person named Kauhanen in Tavinsalmi changed his name to Skopa and the people's pronunciation was Coopia and finally Cuopio. The second explanation is that it comes from the verb kuopia, meaning "paw", as when a horse paws the ground with its hoof. A third explanation is that it came from a certain Karelian man's name Prokopij, from Ruokolahti in the Middle Ages. This explanation is the most likely, and is supported by the Research Institute for the Languages of Finland.
In the 1550s, under the influence of Mikael Agricola, a church and a parish were founded in Kuopionniemi. Governor Peter Brahe founded the city of Kuopio in 1653, but the official date is recognized as 17 November 1775, when King Gustav III of Sweden ordered the formal establishment of the city.
The period of Russian rule (1809–1917) brought notable transportation development within Eastern Finland. The Saimaa Canal (1856) opened up a summer route towards the Baltic Sea, and the Savo railroad (1889) improved transport in winter.
The municipality of Maaninka joined the city of Kuopio in 2015, the town of Nilsiä in 2013, and Karttula in 2011, as did Vehmersalmi in 2005, Riistavesi in 1973, and Kuopion maalaiskunta in 1969.
GeographyThe city is surrounded by Lake Kallavesi, and several parts of it are built on islands. Kuopio's ample waterfronts and islands are also used in the Saaristokaupunki (lit. Archipelago city) -project, the biggest residential area currently being built in Finland. Saaristokaupunki will accommodate a total of 14,000 inhabitants in 2015. All houses will be situated no more than from the nearest lakeshore.
Kuopio falls in the subarctic climate zone (Köppen "Dfc"), closely bordering on continental due to its warm summers. Winters are long and cold, with average highs staying below freezing from November until March, and summers are short and relatively mild. Most precipitation occurs in the late summer and early fall. The summers are relatively warm for its latitude, especially the lows. This is due to influence from the lake, making it much warmer on summer nights than in areas away from water. In winter, maritime moderation is eliminated as the lake freezes over.
TransportThe city has a nationally unique feature in its street network, where every other street is reserved for pedestrian and cycle traffic, so-called "rännikatu" (derived from the Swedish gränd, alley). These streets provide pedestrians a calm environment away from vehicular traffic. This setup dates back to Kuopio's first town plan by Pehr Kjellman in 1776. Originally, rännikadut were created as a fire barrier to prevent a possible fire escalating in a mainly wood-constructed city.
The Blue Highway passes through Kuopio. It is an international tourist route from Mo i Rana, Norway to Pudozh, Russia via Sweden and Finland.
Long-distance transport connections from Kuopio include Pendolino and InterCity trains from Kuopio railway station to several destinations around Finland, operated by VR, as well as multiple daily departures from Kuopio Airport on Finnair to Helsinki.
Education and businessKuopio has always been a city of education. Some of the first schools offering education in Finnish (such as the School for the Blind in 1871, and the Trade School in 1887) were established in Kuopio. Currently the most important institutions are the University of Eastern Finland, the Savonia University of Applied Sciences, Vocational College of Northern Savonia and the Kuopio department of the Sibelius Academy.
Kuopio is known as a strong center of health (e.g. it has the biggest yearly enrollment rate of medical students in Finland), pharmacy, environment, food & nutrition (all legalized Clinical and Public Health Nutritionists in Finland graduate from the University of Eastern Finland), safety (education in Emergency Services is centered in Kuopio) and welfare professions, as the major organisations University of Kuopio (now part of the University of Eastern Finland since January 2010.), Savonia University of Applied Sciences and Technopolis Kuopio are particularly oriented to those areas.
There are about 4,200 enterprises in Kuopio, of which approximately 180 are export companies. These provide about 45,000 jobs.
People and culture
Kuopio is known as the cultural center of Eastern Finland. One of the Kuopio's most important cultural venues are the Kuopio Museum and the Kuopio City Theatre in the city center. A wide range of musical (from kindergarten to doctorate-level studies) and dance education is available and the cultural life is active. Notable events include ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival, Kuopio Dance Festival, Kuopio Rockcock, Kuopio Wine Festival, Kuopio Marathon and Finland Ice Marathon in winter. A notable place, however, to enjoy the local flavor of Kuopio life and food is Sampo, a fish restaurant loved by locals and tourists as well.
Kuopio is known for its association with a national delicacy, Finnish fish pastry (Kalakukko), and the dialect of Savo, as well as the hill of Puijo and the Puijo tower. Besides being a very popular outdoor recreation area, Puijo serves also as a stage for a yearly World Cup ski jumping competition.
In inhabitants of Kuopio have a special reputation: they are known as jovial and verbally joking. Within the Savo culture, the onus is placed on the listener to interpret the story.
During the 2000s, Kuopio has placed very well in a number of image, popularity and city-attractiveness surveys. In 2007 it was placed third, behind Tampere and Oulu.
The largest church denomination in Finland, Evangelical Lutheran Church has a diocese in Kuopio, which is shepherded by bishop Jari Jolkkonen.
Kuopio is home of the Finnish Orthodox Church where its primate, archbishop of Karelia and all Finland Leo (Makkonen) is seated. This is an autonomous jurisdiction affiliated with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. It is the only mainstream Orthodox faction to celebrate Easter on the Latin date. The late Archbishop Paul had been successful in producing literature of popular theology. The city is also the location of RIISA- Orthodox Church Museum of Finland.
Kuopio also has an Islamic mosque. Muslims from various parts of the world and certain Finnish Muslims live in Kuopio.
The town is also home to the first Burmese Buddhist monastery in Finland, named the Buddha Dhamma Ramsi monastery.
Sports in Kuopio
Kuopio bid for the 2012 Winter Youth Olympics, a youth sports festival in the tradition of the Olympics. It became a finalist in November 2008, but ultimately lost to Innsbruck, Austria. Kuopio's image as a small city with a large University and many active young people was considered a model of what the International Olympic Committee seeks for the Games.
International relationsKuopio is twinned with 15 cities around the world. It also has one twin county, Lääne-Viru County, Estonia.
Twin towns – Sister cities
Kuopio is twinned with: