After spending a relaxing weekend at Långvik Spa in Kirkkonummi, a coastal town in Southern Finland, next to Helsinki, we felt well-rested, maybe even a bit sleepy. We had a three-hour drive back home ahead of us. It was pouring down, which seemed like good weather for this November Sunday – the refreshing rain made us feel a bit more awake.
Actually, the whole weekend had been rainy. During our spa weekend we wanted to bike along the curly forest paths before diving into the world of jacuzzis and saunas, but due to the continuous rain, we had to skip it. We don’t drive to Kirkkonummi very often – to be honest, this was the very first time for both of us – so instead of choosing the shortest or the fastest way home we decided to take the route with views and a bit of culture and history.
While googling for haunted houses in Kirkkonummi a couple days earlier, I had come across the oldest rock paintings in Finland. More correctly, the first rock paintings ever found in Finland. Those paintings could be found very near to our location at the time, close to a building called Hvitträsk that is standing by a lake called Vitträsk. The two names were so similar I got confused, so I decided to type ‘Hvitträsk’ on my GPS and check out more once we reach our destination.
To our surprise, the road signs lead us to Hvitträsk very easily. It turned out Hvitträsk wasn’t just a random building, but built by the world-famous architects Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren and Eliel Saarinen in 1901–1903 as their homes and office. Today, Hvitträsk houses a museum and a restaurant. About its ghosts and the oldest rock paintings in Finland, I had read briefly on a Finnish article that can be found here (unfortunately in Finnish only).
The day of our exploration was Father’s Day in Finland, and due to holiday lunch, the parking lot of Hvitträsk was completely packed. We managed to find a little gap for our car and got out despite the rain. We assumed we would find clear instructions leading us to the oldest rock paintings in Finland, found in 1911 by our national composer Sibelius himself. But we were wrong.
We couldn’t find any mention of the rock paintings but instead, we found a curly path leading down to the lakeside with a sign saying ‘to the graves’. This got interesting! Of course, we had to investigate the graves…
We started to follow the path from the top of the rocks downhill towards the lake Vitträsk. The rain was quite heavy, so I decided to leave my camera in the car and manage with my smartphone. I hope that the pictures will convey even a tiny fraction of the beauty we got to experience.
It was amazing how the rain made the air so fresh and nature so green. It was amazing how peaceful and quiet it was. It was amazing how it could be November and still look like this.
We walked along the wooden steps descending towards the lake until we arrived at an interesting rock formation in the middle of the woods. Ah, I thought, perhaps this would be the rock with the oldest rock paintings ever found in Finland. But no, we didn’t spot any paintings. Instead, we found the graves of Eliel Saarinen and his wife Loja and the architect colleague Herman Gesellius.
The rock formation looked a bit like an old fortress and afterward, I tried to find out whether it was made as a monument or would the history of it go even further back in time, but I couldn’t find any trustworthy information. If I ever will, I promise to update it on this post later on.
“Work is the key to the creative growth of the mind” was the motto of Eliel Saarinen, one of the most famous Finnish architects of all times. The flagstone can be found on the floor of the monument.
The grave stone of Eliel and Loja Saarinen and Herman Gesellius can be found on the rock wall by the lake Vitträsk in Kirkkonummi, in Southern Finland.
We continued our walk along the path all the way down to the lake, to the direction of Hvitträsk, but we still couldn’t find any signs of rock paintings. When glancing further to the direction we were heading for, we couldn’t even see any rocks. The rain got even heavier, so we decided to return and go back to Hvitträsk – perhaps the paintings are hiding somewhere in the garden. Besides, we still had a three-hour drive ahead of us, which would not be nice wearing soaking wet clothes.
Before starting our car, we took a moment to wander around the Hvitträsk garden. It must be beautiful during the summer season when it’s blooming, I thought. On a rainy November Sunday, the leafless bushes contrasting to the dark sky created a rough, even a bit spooky atmosphere. Who knows, perhaps the ghosts of Hvitträsk were accompanying us through our exploration.
The Father’s Day celebration still continuing in the restaurant, we fought the temptation to peek inside. Once more I tried to google the exact location of the rock paintings that weren’t even marked on the map of the Hvitträsk standing in the garden. After a while, we decided to leave the mysterious paintings alone. At least we have a perfect reason for another visit when we are driving in the neighborhood next time.
Perhaps you would like to read about our relaxing weekend in the Långvik Spa, which is located only 15 minutes drive away from Hvitträsk? Click on the picture below and enjoy!
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